Quick Reads initiative boosts literacy skills

6th February 2014

Quick Reads, the books written by well-known authors for less confident readers, have had an overwhelmingly positive impact on learners’ confidence, their attitudes to reading and on their literacy skills. This is according to NIACE’s latest impact evaluation of the effectiveness of Quick Reads as part of adult literacy learning, which is published today, to coincide with the publication of six new Quick Reads titles.

The impact evaluation, which received responses from literacy teachers, librarians and union learning reps, also shows that Quick Reads books continue to break down barriers to reading. They have made books accessible to more and more learners, including many from disadvantaged backgrounds associated with low participation in learning, reaching new readers in settings as diverse as prisons, libraries, family learning groups and workplaces.

The headline findings of the evaluation, based on an online survey of practitioners carried out during November and December 2013, are:

  • 98% of respondents said that using Quick Reads has been effective at raising learners’/readers’ confidence to read.
  • 96% of respondents said that using Quick Reads has been effective at improving learners’/readers’ attitudes towards reading.
  • 95% of respondents said that using Quick Reads has beeneffective at improving learners’/readers’ literacy skills.
  • 93% of respondents said that using Quick Reads effective at improving learners’/readers’ attitudes towards learning.
  • 89% of respondents said that, after using Quick Reads for the first time, at least half of their learners go on to read other Quick Reads.
  • 54% of respondents said that, after using Quick Reads for the first time, at least half of their learners go on to enrol on other courses.

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

“We are thrilled with the responses to this year’s survey. It shows that the books are still being used year-on-year to support literacy in a variety of settings by a range of practitioners, including teachers, librarians and union learning representatives. And there is evidence that we are reaching new audiences.

“If we can get these books into the right hands, they can move mountains, improving not only literacy, but also changing attitudes to personal reading, reading to children and adult learning in general. But there are still a vast number of adults who struggle with literacy and we need to constantly come up with innovative ways to get these books into the hands of more people who can make a difference with them.”

Carol Taylor OBE, Director of Development and Research at NIACE, said:

“Quick Reads continue to be a fantastic vehicle for engaging people in reading – but it has become so much more as it has developed. It is a vital strategy in prisons and offender institutions, both to engage people but also to encourage them to think about writing themselves. It has become an important element of family learning work. More than a third of respondents in our survey said that learners were better able to support their children’s learning as a result of reading the books. And large employers see Quick Reads as a way of showing their commitment to employees’ skills and wellbeing.

“We are grateful for the continued support of the publishing industry and best-selling authors as well as the co-operation and flexibility of our partners at the Institute of Education, the Reading Agency and unionlearn. Together we continue to widen our reach and maximise our impact ensuring that Quick Reads are widely used to help the most disadvantaged people in our society.”