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Quick Reads continue to boost literacy learning

Thursday, 21 May 2015

The Quick Reads books continue to have an overwhelmingly positive impact on adult literacy learning – 9 years after they first appeared in bookshops and libraries. The latest evaluation - conducted by NIACE with hundreds of literacy tutors - demonstrates how Quick Reads are changing attitudes towards reading, levels of confidence and engagement in learning.

The evaluation found that:

  • 95% of respondents said that Quick Reads were effective in improving learners’ literacy skills;
  • 97% said that Quick Reads were effective in improving learners’ confidence to read;
  • 97% also felt that Quick Reads were effective in improving learners’ attitudes towards reading;
  • 93% of respondents also felt that Quick Reads were effective in improving learners’ attitudes towards learning;
  • 87% of respondents estimated that at least half of their Quick Reads learners go on to read other Quick Reads titles; and
  • 54% said that at least half of their learners enrol on other courses after reading Quick Reads.

Joyce Black, Assistant Director for Development and Research, said:

“Quick Reads are playing a major role in helping adults to improve their literacy and their lives. Countless adults have read, completed and enjoyed a book for the very first time. They have gone on to read many other books and through reading for pleasure, have become more confident, have better health and have encouraged others, including, perhaps most importantly, their children to read.

“However, there are still far too many people who are missing out on the benefits of reading, beyond the joy that a good book brings. One in three adults in the UK do not read for pleasure, a statistic that is seldom discussed.”

Click here to read the full report.

Quick Reads and NIACE have also worked in partnership this year to deliver a creative writing programme in three prisons. Visits by Quick Reads authors inspired the inmates to take part, giving them an insight into starting to write and putting thoughts onto paper.  The result of this work is 'Through My Eyes' an e-book publication of poems and short stories written by inmates at all three prisons.

In addition to this project, Quick Reads is also working with the Booker Prize Foundation. Booker Prize winner Roddy Doyle’s Quick Read, Dead Man Talking, will be offered to a number of prisons and Young Offenders Institutions across the UK through the Booker Prize Foundation’s prisons initiative, Books Unlocked, facilitated by the National Literacy Trust.  
 
And for the third year running, Quick Reads is also working in partnership with The Reading Agency with the One Quick Read, One Prison project, which has brought over 4,000 books to prisons.

Cathy Rentzenbrink, Director of Quick Reads, said:

“It is fantastic to see once again how much Quick Reads are valued by practitioners and how encouraging it is to see the very real impact that our books have on emerging readers and reading for pleasure. The feedback and insights we can draw from our evaluation will continue to shape and influence both the titles and authors we commission, and the activity we undertake.”

'Through my Eyes' is available from the NIACE website, and will be disseminated via the virtual campus and OLASS providers, as well as the wider literacy community. The e-book will also be a useful tool for literacy teachers to use when developing reading and writing with offenders.

 


30 minutes reading a week can improve your life!

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Research released today has revealed that those who read for just 30 minutes per week are 20% more likely to be satisfied with their lives. The research by GALAXY® chocolate on behalf of Quick Reads as the 2015 Galaxy® Quick Reads’ titles are released. This year’s bite-sized books are written by a range of leading authors including Jojo Moyes and Booker Prize winner, Roddy Doyle.   

Produced in partnership with Dr. Josie Billington at The University of Liverpool, Galaxy® found that readers are 21% less likely to report feelings of depression and 10% more likely to report good self-esteem versus non-readers, equipping them with a greater ability to cope with everyday life.

As many as 42% of the UK’s 16 million lapsed readers cited lack of time as their biggest reason for not picking up a book.  Of further concern still was the finding that 1.2 million UK adults have stopped reading as a result of some form of depression. Conversely, the report goes on to show that readers are less likely to experience low mood or feelings of depression if they read for as little as 30 minutes a week.   

One of the greatest benefits of being a reader was shown in the analysis around empathy. With just 30 minutes of reading a week, as many as two thirds of readers (64%) reported a better understanding of other people’s feelings versus less than half (48%) of non-readers.  

With one in three adults in the UK not reading for pleasure, Galaxy® and Quick Reads are calling upon lapsed and non-readers to consider the wider health and wellbeing benefits of picking up a book and starting to read today.  Further compelling benefits to reading revealed in the study were:

  • 43% of readers said reading helped them get a better night’s sleep
  • 19% of readers said reading stopped them feeling lonely
  • Regular readers reported 57% greater cultural awareness and 21% more general knowledge
  • Readers reported higher levels of creativity (48%) than non-readers (38%)
  • Readers were found to be 27% better able to make time for their friends, perhaps as they were 10% more capable of planning and prioritising

Dr. Josie Billington from the Centre for Research into Reading, Literature and Society at The University of Liverpool said: “Whilst the cumulative societal benefits of reading have been widely acknowledged, it’s important also to recognise the gains to be had from reading on our personal health and wellbeing.”     

Cathy Rentzenbrink from Quick Reads said: “I have always found reading to be a great source of comfort and this research confirms what I have long witnessed professionally: reading can help any one of us to be healthier, happier and ultimately to get more out of life.”

Suzanne Tamsitt, a nurse and mother of one said: “I lost my confidence after suffering postnatal depression and the prospect of reading a book felt like climbing a mountain. Galaxy Quick Reads gave me the perfect stepping stone back into reading, enabling me to regain my confidence and rediscover my love of reading.”  

Emma Thornton, Galaxy® Marketing Director, said: “We are proud to be supporting Quick Reads for the fifth year running and hope that this research will encourage more people to discover the pleasure and benefits of reading. Reading has always been important to us and we recognise the pleasure that can be gained by losing yourself in a great book – especially when enjoyed with a bar of Galaxy!”

Read the full report “Reading Between the Lines: the Benefits of  Reading for Pleasure”.


New Quick Reads titles announced for 2015!

Friday, 19 September 2014

1993 Booker Prize winner Roddy Doyle is amongst the six authors announced today, Friday 19 September 2014, as the names behind the 2015 Galaxy® Quick Reads titles.

The books, which are sponsored by Galaxy® for the fifth year running, will be published on 5 February 2015:

  • Roddy Doyle – Dead Man Talking
  • Jojo Moyes – Paris for One
  • Sophie Hannah – Pictures Or It Didn’t Happen
  • Fanny Blake – Red for Revenge
  • Adèle Geras – Out of the Dark
  • James Bowen – Street Cat Bob

In the most recent NIACE evaluation report, 98% of literacy practitioners report that using Quick Reads has been effective at raising learners’ confidence to read whilst 95% say that the books have been effective at improving readers’ literacy skills.

Roddy Doyle, who won the Booker Prize 21 years ago for Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, is the first Man Booker Prize author to pen a Quick Read. The book has come about through collaboration between Quick Reads and the Booker Prize Foundation, as part of the Foundation’s commitment to building the bridge between literature and literacy. Roddy is a passionate advocate for literacy and is involved in various projects promoting reading and writing in Ireland, as a contributor to the Open Door literacy series (the original inspiration for Quick Reads) and as Co-Founder and Chairman of Fighting Words in Dublin.

Cathy Rentzenbrink, Project Director, Quick Reads, comments:

'I love the Man Booker Prize and it distresses me that one in six adults of working age in the UK does not have the literacy skills to read the winning book. By asking a previous winner to write a Quick Read, we are enabling a far wider audience to experience both literature and the Man Booker Prize as they make progress on a journey towards becoming part of the reading world. s book is a wonderfully compelling tale about life and death and shows the story possibilities that can exist even when using simpler language.

'I am delighted that Galaxy is continuing to support Quick Reads for the fifth year running. Quick Reads is about bringing not just the benefits but also the pleasures of reading to adults.'

Roddy comments on his involvement:

'I’m delighted to be involved with Quick Reads as they are all about creating new readers and I’ve seen at first-hand how low levels of literacy have a negative effect on people's lives. Literacy is the key to opening doors for everyone.

'I started to write a story about a man who was pretending to be dead. But as I wrote, it changed and I realised I was writing about death.  I wanted the story to be funny and a bit frightening because, while it’s often frightening, death is rarely funny - and I wanted the challenge.'

Carol Taylor, Deputy Chief Executive of NIACE, said:

'Quick Reads - the wonderful short, plot-filled books, written by well-known authors – are exactly what people who have lost the reading habit, or struggle with aspects of reading, need and want. They are a wonderfully simple, effective and absolutely brilliant idea to help people engage with good books. Quick Reads are what the world of adult literacy has been crying out for and now simply could not cope without.

'Coming so soon after the BIS Select Committee report on adult literacy and numeracy in England, these new Quick Reads will be an integral part of the strategy this country desperately needs to encourage more adults to improve their literacy skills, entice them into whole new worlds and completely fall in love with reading. Since they were first published in 2006, a huge number of adults have read and enjoyed a book for the first time. They have developed a new-found confidence in reading, many have gone to gain their first ever qualifications and are now helping their children and grandchildren with their schoolwork. Many more will do the same as a result of reading these new Quick Reads.'

Emma Thornton, Galaxy® Marketing Director comments:

'At Galaxy we are passionate about helping people discover the pleasure of reading.  A great book and a bar of Galaxy are the perfect combination, and we are proud to have played a part in the growth and development of the Quick Reads charity over the last five years.'

 


Mark the centenary of World War One with Quick Reads

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

This year it will be one hundred years since the start of the first World War and Quick Reads have worked with publishers HarperCollins and Cityread London to produce a fantastic literacy resource for the occasion. This resource contains specially edited extracts from the novel My Dear I Wanted to Tell You, by Louisa Young, which is set during the first World War and tells the story of two men who go off to fight, and the women they have left at home.

You can download this FREE resource here.


New NIACE Publication: Reading for Pleasure and Reading Circles for Emergent Adult Readers

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Reading for Pleasure and Reading Circles for Emergent Adult Readers
Insights in Adult Learning

Author: Sam Duncan
RRP: £7.95
Due: February 2014

This book addresses the need to support teachers in developing adults’ skills through reading for pleasure as an individual and group practice, incorporating the activity into the curriculum. It focuses on reading for pleasure for adult emergent readers – those who consider themselves non-readers either because they feel they cannot or do not read – and draws on the author’s research with adult readers and reading circles.

It will be of particular interest to adult literacy, functional skills and ESOL teachers/trainee teachers, adult literacy and ESOL teacher educators, librarians and community development professionals.

Please visit the NIACE bookshop for more information and to order your copy.


2014 titles and free ideas packs now available

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

The new 2014 Quick Reads titles are now available, including ideas packs for each title.


Quick Reads 2014 Evaluation Report

Friday, 31 January 2014

Once again, the 2014 Quick Reads Evaluation demonstrates they continue to have a positive impact on engaging and supporting adults with literacy and reading.   As one tutor put it, "I have noticed a confidence in students, who otherwise didn't read books. Many of them have realised how enjoyable it is to read. Most had tried, but failed because the books they had chosen were either to long or had complicated language. Once they started reading the Quick Reads they came back for more. I like to think the Quick Reads turn non-readers into readers."
 
Read the full report http://www.niace.org.uk/current-work/area/reading-for-pleasure


Bestselling authors throw their support behind Quick Reads 2014

Friday, 6 September 2013

The new list of Galaxy® Quick Reads titles is announced today, to coincide with International Literacy Day on Sunday 8 September, with a host of bestselling authors penning books for the charity.

The books, which will be on shelves in February 2014, include:

  • Lynda La PlanteThe Escape
  • Lindsey DavisA Cruel Fate
  • Barbara Taylor BradfordHidden
  • Harriet EvansRules for Dating a Romantic Hero
  • Jeffrey ArcherFour Warned
  • Emily BarrBlackout

Next year will see Quick Reads continue its campaign to introduce more people to reading. Recent research indicates that as many as one in six adults struggling to read and that over a third of people (35.2%) never read a book for pleasure.

But it would seem that the books are successful at encouraging those who have trouble reading to pick up a book, with 69% of learners going on to read another Galaxy® Quick Reads book once finishing their first, and 68% attempting other books as a result of finishing a Galaxy® Quick Read.

Following a successful rebrand of the charity last year, the 2014 books will be the first to suggest onward reading – more titles from the same author.

Cathy Rentzenbrink, Project Director for Quick Reads, said:

"With one in six adults having difficulty reading, the scale of the challenge facing us is huge and Quick Reads is only made possible by the support of our partners. We've partnered with NIACE for many years now and the work it does with Quick Reads books is invaluable.

"It really is encouraging to see the impact Galaxy® Quick Reads books have on emerging readers and that they go on to try other books. This year, we want to make it as easy as possible to find another similar book, by the same author, which they can be confident they’ll enjoy which is why we’ve redesigned the book jackets to point readers in the right direction.

"I’m thrilled with our new list of authors, we’ve got a real mix of genres so there’s something for everyone whether you like thrillers, romantic comedies or historical stories. The authors have all come on board because they’re passionate about literacy so it’s great to have such well-known authors supporting the push to get more people enjoying reading.

"Our aim is to bring the pleasures and benefits of reading to everyone. With one in six adults having difficulty reading, the scale of the challenge facing us is huge and Quick Reads is only made possible by the support of our partners. We've partnered with NIACE for many years now and the work it does with Quick Reads books is invaluable.

"Every year we hear from adults whose lives and attitudes have been transformed by reading Quick Reads books – they're often the first book people have ever read – something I'm immensely proud about. I hope this year will see even more people discovering the pleasure reading can bring through Quick Reads."

Sue Southwood, NIACE Project Manager for Quick Reads Outreach Work, said:

"There have been many great initiatives in literacy learning and teaching over the years, but what was missing for so long were books, written at the right level for adults, by talented and best-selling authors that learners could get excited about. This is exactly what Quick Reads have brought and they have become an invaluable part of adult literacy learning in the 21st Century. Literacy tutors tell us that they don’t know how they got on without them.

"Each year there are new and exciting titles which invigorate learners and the list of authors for 2014 is one I know that people will be excited about. Couple these new Quick Reads with the learning materials that will be produced to support them and its quite clear that thousands more adults will become enthusiastic and invigorated readers and lovers of books, passing on this enthusiasm to their families and friends."

"Each year there are new and exciting titles which invigorate learners and the list of authors for 2014 is one I know that people will be excited about."

Barbara Taylor Bradford, one of the Quick Reads 2014 authors, said:

"I feel very passionate about encouraging people to pick up a book and read it which is why I was so pleased to be asked to write for Quick Reads. I really enjoyed writing the book and hope that it will make a real difference in introducing people to the pleasure that reading can bring."

For the fourth year running, Galaxy® is partnering with Quick Reads as the main sponsor. Emma Rees, Galaxy® Brand Director, said:

"Reading has always been important to us; we recognise the pleasure that can be gained by losing yourself in a great book and a bar of Galaxy®.

"This year, we're pleased to continue our support for Quick Reads. It's such a valuable initiative which makes a big impact in encouraging those who may have lost the habit of reading or who may feel intimidated by a longer book to pick up something manageable."


New pilot for Speaking and Listening Qualification

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

NIACE is working in partnership with Homeless Charities, Housing Associations and Children's Centres to engage hard to reach social groups who often fall through the cracks of traditional adult learning provision.

Five organisations have now been selected to pilot new Quick Reads Reading Groups, with learners being given the opportunity to achieve a new OCR Speaking and Listening Unit Qualification.

Starting in September, participants will receive free Quick Reads and learning resources to help them improve literacy levels, build confidence and develop analytical skills, supported by a professional reading consultant.

For further information, please email quickreads@niace.org.uk


Understanding Reading for Pleasure for emerging adult readers

Thursday, 21 March 2013

NRDC has carried out new research into reading for pleasure in the context of adult reading groups of emerging readers. It explores what reading for pleasure means, what people gain from reading and why they might benefit from reading in groups.
http://www.nrdc.org.uk/rfp

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