An award-winning writer and journalist visited Kirkcaldy this week to launch a reading initiative aimed at improving adult literacy.
Nick Thorpe – author of ‘Urban Worrier’, ‘Eight Men And A Duck’ and ‘Adrift in Caledonia’ – joined Fife Cultural Trust staff at Sinclairtown Library to promote the Six Book Challenge.
This is the fourth year Fife has been involved in this challenge promoted by independent charity, The Reading Agency, which has made a positive impact on people’s reading confidence and motivation.
The six-book challenge encourages less confident readers to develop new reading habits and improve their skills by inviting them to pick six books of their choice and complete a reading diary in order to receive incentives along the way and a certificate.
At the launch, Nick – a contributor to many national newspapers, covering stories ranging from Russian presidential elections to the coca wars of Bolivia – spent time talking to challenge participants, explaining more about the scheme and encouraging them to choose books which were of interest to them.
He said: “The wonderful thing about the Six Book Challenge is that people who don’t normally read, or who think that reading isn’t their bag, are encouraged to pick up a book.”
A recent survey revealed 90 per cent of participants in the challenge were now more confident about reading.
The scheme has grown five-fold over the past six years with 35,000 people across the UK taking part in 2013 via public libraries, colleges, workplaces, prisons and army education centres.
Genevieve Clarke, who leads the challenge, said: “Reading can open so many doors in life. We’re really pleased to have the support of partners such as Fife Cultural Trust as we take the scheme to even more people who will benefit from it.”
Crime writer Martina Cole is the official ambassador for the Six Book Challenge and will be attending many events around the country.
Everyone who completes the challenge will receive a certificate signed by her.
Martina said: “I really wanted to become an ambassador for The Reading Agency because reading is such a big part of my life.
“When you read a book you have to picture it all in your own mind. No one tells you what you’re seeing or what you should be feeling. That’s the secret of reading – it’s such a personal thing.”
Adult readers can sign up for the six-book challenge through any local Library in Fife.