One in six people struggles to read. Reading Ahead supports young people and adults by changing their perception of reading, opening up opportunities and building their confidence.
Research shows that when we inspire people to read for pleasure they benefit from far greater opportunities in everyday life, education and employment. Reading Ahead is the gateway to these opportunities. The programme is designed to help people improve their reading skills and develop a love of reading.
"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." Participant who completed Reading Ahead 2018/19.
About the programme
Reading Ahead is run through public libraries, adult learning organisations, colleges, workplaces and prisons. Reading Ahead invites participants to pick six reads and record, rate and review them in a personal reading diary. After completing their diary they receive a certificate and can enter a national prize draw!
The programme isn't just about books - it's about newspapers, magazines and websites too. The aim is that participants challenge themselves to try something new and discover that reading can be a pleasure in the process.
Visit our resources database for guidance and templates on how to run the programme and see our case studies for further ideas and evidence of impact.
Prisons: Around 100 prisons across the UK take part in Reading Ahead each year and we produce materials specifically suited for use in prisons. When prisoners complete their diaries they receive a free pocket dictionary or guide for spelling or writing. These are provided by the charity Give a Book and are a very popular incentive.
Wales: We produce our materials in Welsh so please remember to select the Welsh language items when purchasing from the shop.
"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." Participant who completed Reading Ahead 2018/19.
- Since launching in 2008 Reading Ahead has reached well over 300,000 people.
- In 2017-18 Reading Ahead reached 38,500 young people and adults - 6,500 through public libraries working with local partners, 18,500 in adult learning organisations, in particular further education and sixth form colleges, 12,000 in prisons and 1500 in workplaces, mainly led by trade unions such as UNISON and Usdaw.
Our evaluation shows that Reading Ahead:
- Boosts confidence in reading
- Increases enjoyment in reading
- Increases library use
- Results in people reading more
For more on our research and outcomes please have a read of our full evaluation report from 2017/18. We collect feedback throughout the year and produce an evaluation report every summer that you are welcome to use and share. Our evaluation report for 2018/19 will be published in September.
"There was one man who took part in Reading Ahead [who] used his experience to reflect on his future and how he wanted to be involved in supporting and mentoring vulnerable adults. He now works in the probation service as part of a restorative justice programme, and it all started with Reading Ahead. Another participant was a struggling reader with no tangible paper qualifications. But she was very diligent with her Reading Ahead diary and the book themed activities. She took these examples of what she had been doing to a job interview as an example of self-development." Judith Robinson, Development Librarian for Kirklees Library Service.
If you'd like to take part in Reading Ahead or run it in your organisation, get in touch to find out more.
You can order materials from our shop to run Reading Ahead in your organisation.
Visit our resources database for guidance and templates to run the programme and see our case studies for further ideas and evidence of impact.