Back in 2008 the Reading Agency launched the Six Book Challenge initiative which over the years has seen public libraries, colleges and prisons actively working with individuals to promote and encourage a love of reading (see our previous posts about the Six Book Challenge). Each year there is an official launch event and this year the event doubled as a relaunch with a change of name and a new look.
On 9 September a group of us gathered at No 11 Downing Street where Frances Osborne hosted the Reading Ahead 2016 launch event. The audience included public librarians, college and learning centre staff, prison librarians and publishers working in the sector (developing the Quick Reads and other simplified and graded readers). Reading Ahead benefits from ‘new look’ publicity with the focus moving to including a wider range of reading, such as web pages, magazine articles and poems.
Three weeks later, the equally impressive setting of Church Street Library‘s Community Space saw us celebrating the Six Book Challenge 2015 in Westminster. We’ve reached the gold standard this year with a record number of 800 registrations and over 200 completers. In recognition of this we received a Gold Award from the Reading Agency and organised two events in the Borough to celebrate this achievement, first at Victoria Library in July and then Church Street.
Library staff and volunteers planned the event making sure the invitations were sent, certificates written, book prizes ordered and refreshments available. The Reading Agency provided Reading Ahead material and we were pleased to welcome guest speaker Rachel Bladon, who has written many graded readers for learners of English. Some of the audience were particularly excited that Rachel was attending as they had read and enjoyed one of her books (one lady thanked her in person and read a poem she had written). Each completer received a certificate presented by Rachel and a book prize of their choice.
The event was a great way to end the Challenge for 2015 and we are already starting to work with partners to register people for Reading Ahead.