Photo: Islington Libraries
This International Literacy Day (8 September) we are delighted to publish a report which shows the powerful impact our Reading Ahead programme can have on less confident readers.
Reading Ahead supports young people and adults by changing their perception of reading, opening up opportunities and building their confidence. In 2015-16 around 45,000 people took part through public libraries (approx. 10,000), colleges and adult learning (18,000), prisons (15,000) and workplaces (2000), mainly through trade unions.
This year's survey shows that Reading Ahead builds confidence and enjoyment of reading. We asked participants about their attitudes to reading before and afterwards: among those who'd completed the programme, there was a 24% increase in the number of people who 'agreed a lot' that they were a good reader and an 18% increase in the number of people who 'agreed a lot' that they enjoy reading.
Practitioners running Reading Ahead endorse these benefits wholeheartedly with 96% of survey respondents agreeing that the programme has increased participants' reading confidence and 92% their enjoyment of reading. 91% felt that their participants were reading more and 82% said that Reading Ahead had improved their participants' literacy skills.
In 2015/2016 prisons have been particularly successful at supporting participants to complete their six reads. Spurred on by the reward of a pocket dictionary contributed by charity Give a Book, 45 prisons and young offender institutions (YOIs) have recorded 50 or more completers with 13 achieving 150 or more.
The full list of organisations that will receive our annual awards for completer numbers is here.
Uxbridge College have topped the chart with 1006 completers achieved through use of their college Moodle. Next up is The Manchester College with 338 completers, followed by HMP Thameside, HMYOI Glen Parva, Northampton College, Westminster Libraries, Brent Libraries, Coleg Cambria, Grŵp Llandrillo Menai and Bolton College, all with more than 200 completers.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has just drawn on recent research to call for a drive to ensure that all adults have the literacy, numeracy and digital skills they require by 2030. Reading Ahead continues to make an important contribution to motivating young people and adults to improve their skills and develop a love of reading at the same time. In the words of one survey respondent, Mark Watkins from Gloucestershire College: "This is a really cool idea. It gets you into reading and you learn a lot."
Order materials to run Reading Ahead at your organisation including diaries, bookmarks and posters
Read the full report