Research shows that when we inspire people to read for pleasure they benefit from far greater opportunities in everyday life, education and employment. However, one in six adults in the UK struggle to read. Reading Ahead is the gateway to these opportunities. The programme is designed to help people improve their reading skills and change their perception of reading, opening up opportunities and building their confidence.
Reading Ahead is delivered through public libraries, adult learning organisations, colleges, workplaces and prisons. In 2018-19 the programme reached over 30,000 young people and adults.
Reading Ahead challenges participants to pick six reads and record, rate and review them in a personal reading diary - printed or digital. After completing their diary they receive a certificate or digital badge. Those taking part in prison receive a free dictionary on completion thanks to charity Give A Book.
The programme isn't just about books - newspapers, magazines, poems, websites all count too! The aim is that participants challenge themselves to try something new and discover that reading can be a pleasure in the process. The Reading Agency's Quick Reads are a key tool for engaging new readers, find out more.
"I've never really read books before because of the internet but having a goal to work towards was brilliant. It is also much easier to fall asleep at night so I will carry on reading. My kindle is loaded up." Reading Ahead participant, 2018/19.
Our evaluation shows that Reading Ahead:
- Results in people reading more
- Boosts confidence in reading
- Increases enjoyment in reading
- Increases library use
For more on our research and outcomes please see our full evaluation report from 2018/19.
"I'd never have picked a book up if it wasn't for this challenge. I have gained so much from reading as I am doing my GCSEs and I've found the techniques in the writer's language. Bring on my next book. Thank you." Reading Ahead participant, 2018/19.
How to take part
Reading Ahead can be delivered with print or digital materials, or a combination of the two. Materials can be ordered from The Reading Agency Shop.
The print packs contain:
- A4 foldout reading diaries
- A5 invitation flyers: explaining what Reading Ahead is and how to take part. These can be distributed to classrooms or directly to wings and cells in a prison setting, slipped inside books being borrowed from the library and displayed on reception desks
- A3 posters
- A4 certificates signed by our Reading Ahead author ambassadors
In addition to the printed materials, programme co-ordinators can access the Reading Ahead website.This access includes:
- Find A Read, a unique reading database searchable by reading
- Reading Ahead resources database: a hub of downloadable resources including learning resources, social media and promotional assets, author content, booklists and toolkits.
The digital packs contain:
- Full access to the digital platform at readingahead.org.uk for both co-ordinators and participants
- Find A Read for co-ordinators and participants
- Resources database for co-ordinators and participants
- Digital reading diary for each participant where they can log their reads and see their progress. This will include the opportunity to progress beyond six reads: participants will receive a bronze digital sticker for completing six reads, they can then move on to the next six for a silver sticker and the next six for gold etc.
- Being a part of the Reading Ahead community as ratings and reviews are shared on Find A Read (anonymously!) to help others taking part choose what to read
- A dashboard for co-ordinators that will record the progress of your participants and allow you to read their reviews
We encourage organisations to award printed certificates to completers and where possible hold award ceremonies (virtual if required). We will have printed certificates available to order with your digital pack to make this possible.
Visit our Shop to order print and digital core materials and incentives.
Take a look at our impact case studies.
Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
Meet our Reading Ahead author ambassadors.