Happy Birthday Quick Reads!

Quick Reads Reading’s second nature to me. I don’t even remember learning how to do it. I know I arrived at infants’ school fully equipped so my mum must have taught me although, curiously, I do remember being taught to write there. Both my parents read voraciously and, in my ignorance, I’d assumed that everyone in the book world had a similar background but it seems I’m wrong.

A while back I noticed that Cathy Rentzenbrink had become Project Director for the Reading Agency’s adult literacy arm, Quick Reads, which celebrates its tenth birthday this year. Cathy reviewed for me way back when I was the reviews editor for Waterstone’s Books Quarterly and she was a bookseller at Hatchards. She was an editor’s dream – and still is, I’m sure – happy to read just about anything, turning in beautifully written copy on time, never exceeding the word count. She’s now not only the bestselling author of the much-acclaimed The Last Act of Love  but she’s one of the go-to people in the literary world for intelligent recommendations. All this is by way of a lead up to a short BBC piece which I saw tweeted last Thursday in which her father, Kevin, talks about his difficulties with reading. It’s a touching clip, each clearly extremely proud of the other. On the same day, Naomi over at The Writes of Women posted an eloquent and moving piece about her experiences as a Literacy Coordinator and how reading can instil confidence in children, tweeting later about her uncle’s difficulties. Cover image

I can’t imagine how hard it must be trying to get to grips with how the world works if you have trouble reading. Life must be spent in an apprehensive fog:  the challenge of holding  down a half-way decent job – or any job – as Kevin explained, documents to be read and signed, the constant fear of being humiliated. Those who take their courage in their hands and ask for help should be applauded. Initiatives that help them along the way deserve all the support we can give them. So, a few days late but heartfelt, a resounding happy birthday to Quick Reads. There were a bunch of new titles published last Thursday, each tailored for those less confident in their reading skills, one of which is Malala’s book. What could be more appropriate than that!

8 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Quick Reads!”

    1. I couldn’t agree more, Christine. This is such a good initiative, making reading enjoyable and instilling confidence, too.

  1. I have worked with so many older children who have failed to learn to read and who are then completely put off trying by the fact that the available material is all targeted at much younger pupils. How much more difficult it is then for those who are trying to support adults. I think this series is magnificent and am only sorry that new title appear just once a year. It deserves all the publicity it can get.

    1. It does doesn’t it. One of the comments on Naomi’s blog illustrates how important it is to have titles that they can rel;ate to for adults having reading difficulties. I’m sure that the enjoyment and satisfaction so many of us take for granted in reading a book must spur on those who find it hard.

  2. Thanks for bringing Quick Reads to my attention. I now follow them on Twitter. What a wonderful idea they have. I’ve never been averse to reading long books but know so many people who are daunted by the length of books or simply because they struggle with reading.

  3. Another great post, thank you. I have always been a slow reader and I only realised recently when I read an old school report that said I struggled with learning how to read! Seems quite a confession now for an English Teacher / Author. But I love reading so much even if I stumbled on the first few steps and am still slow even now!

    1. I don’t think that difficulty with reading is a reflection of intelligence at all and you’re clearly proof of that, Helen. I’m a fast reader but I’m not always sure that’s a good thing. I so often forget what I’ve read – perhaps it would stick better if I took more time!

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