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News story

Manchester residents challenged to get Reading Ahead

20 Apr 2017

Reading Ahead launch

A campaign to inspire more people in Manchester to get reading has launched, as part of the Read Manchester campaign from Manchester City Council and the National Literacy Trust.

Developed by The Reading Agency, Manchester Reading Ahead invites adults and young people of all reading abilities to pick six reads and record, rate and review them in a diary. Participants can choose to read books, newspapers, magazines or even websites, and will receive a certificate when they have completed six.

Manchester Reading Ahead is being backed by the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor Carl Austin-Behan. The programme promotes reading for pleasure, supporting local participants to get into the habit of reading regularly and build their reading confidence, which can have a significant impact on their literacy skills and wellbeing.

The Reading Agency’s evaluation of the national Reading Ahead programme in 2015/16 found that after taking part, 96% of organisations running the programme agreed that participants’ reading confidence had increased while 92% said it increased their enjoyment of reading.

Manchester Reading Ahead will run until September through public libraries, adult learning organisations, colleges, workplaces, schools and children’s centres across the city. Manchester College, Wythenshawe Community Housing Group and Manchester Adult Education Service are among the organisations that have signed up take part.

Lord Mayor of Manchester, Cllr Carl Austin-Behan, said:

"I have never really been a reader, but one thing I have learnt through my term as Lord Mayor is how important reading is, and more importantly how important it is for children to learn to read, however it’s never too late  - I'm determined to turn this round and have signed myself up for the Reading Ahead Challenge to make sure that I do.

"Reading is a habit for life that we should all take up - it improves outcomes across the board for children and adults. I'll be talking to all my friends and contacts about Reading Ahead and getting them to sign up too.”

Director of the National Literacy Trust Jonathan Douglas said:

“The reading habits of parents and adult family members have an important impact on children’s attitudes towards books and reading, which are closely linked to their attainment at school.  Manchester Reading Ahead is a great way to promote positive reading behaviours at home and inspire the whole family to spend time reading together.”

CEO of The Reading Agency Sue Wilkinson, said:

“We are delighted to be a partner in Manchester’s brilliant and much needed campaign to encourage people to read more. Our evaluation shows the difference participation in Reading Ahead makes to the adults who get involved, and the wider benefits which come from them building their own reading confidence and being able to read to and with their children.”

Manchester Reading Ahead is part of year-long programme of Read Manchester activities to get the city reading and improve literacy levels.

For more information and to get involved visit

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