A World Book Day first
"I've never read a book in my life, but I've read three Quick Reads, we swapped them amongst ourselves. I started reading during the day; I read all evening, and took the book to bed with me - even though my husband laughed at me for reading a book." - Parent in a Family Learning Class
In a major new initiative for World Book Day two new titles written in Welsh - by well-known authors Meleri Wyn James and Geraint V Jones - are being published alongside a dozen more Quick Reads by bestselling writers on World Book Day (Thursday 2 March).
Quick Reads, an innovative series of short and accessible fiction and non-fiction, are aimed at people who are not confident readers or who struggle to finish a book. The series includes books written by a host of mainstream English-language authors including Ruth Rendell, Maeve Binchy, Joanna Trollope and Richard Branson.
The books are as good as anything currently available in bookshops but short – no longer than 128 pages, accessible and pacy. A further 14 titles – including two more Welsh language titles and two written in English by Welsh authors - will be published in May 2006.
Each Quick Read book will cost only £2.99. Thousands of £1-off vouchers, redeemable for a year against any of the Quick Reads titles, are being distributed across Wales to encourage people to pick up, read and enjoy a book. The vouchers will be distributed via Further Education colleges and adult learner centres, through the TUC, a range of employers, and will be downloadable from a range of websites, including the Basic Skills Agency's website.
The aim of Quick Reads is to open new worlds for people, to make reading not just a skill, but a habit. Around 750,000 adults in Wales struggle with reading; the aim is to take these emergent readers, along with those who have simply lost the reading habit and feel they don't have time to read, and with help from bestselling writers, turn them into addicted readers.
A Welsh Assembly Government backed project, the Quick Reads initiative was welcomed by Jane Davidson, the Minister for Education and Lifelong Learning: "I am delighted to lend my support to the Quick Reads Initiative as a way of introducing those who are developing their literacy skills to the pleasure of reading. Whilst we need to convince adult learners that improved reading skills will improve their life chances, we must also show them that reading can be a joy in its own right. When we succeed in getting both messages across we will have made great strides in achieving our goals."
"Raising awareness of the importance of literacy and numeracy skills is at the heart of the Basic Skills Strategy for Wales and innovative approaches such as Quick Reads are the key to raising awareness by conveying the sheer enjoyment that reading a good book can offer. I am also pleased to see the inclusion of Welsh titles in the book list which will help the initiative to reach an even wider audience."
The two Welsh-language titles, 'Parti Ann Haf' and 'Jake' – marketed under the series name 'Stori Sydyn' - were produced through the cooperation of the Basic Skills Agency and the Welsh Books Council. Toni Schiavone, Executive Director – Wales of the Basic Skills Agency, comments: "The Basic Skills Agency and the Welsh Books Council are both keen to extend the quantity and quality of resources available for post-16 basic skills learners and their teachers. In a great example of joined-up thinking and working, we have worked closely with the Welsh Books Council to ensure that Welsh language titles are available to everyone as part of the Quick Reads initiative."
Gwerfyl Pierce Jones, Director of the Welsh Books Council says: "Both Welsh-language titles are great reads and have been beautifully produced by Gomer Press. They are books that anyone would be happy to read and enjoy. We also have the added advantage that they are ideally suitable for Welsh-language learners as they gain confidence with their reading."
Mairwen Prys Jones at Gomer Press adds: "Both authors – Geraint Vaughan Jones and Meleri Wyn James – really know the secrets of page-turning. Whether it's chick-lit or a thriller, it's all about getting readers hooked and then keeping them entertained."
As author, Meleri Wyn James, says, "Reading is fun and a pleasure we can all share. Taking part in Quick Reads is an exciting opportunity to reach out to new readers."
For more information please contact: Valerie McBurney or Ruth Yarnit at the Basic Skills Agency Press Office, Tel: 020 7440 7788, fax: 020 7440 6626, email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
For out of hours media enquiries please call 07979 240936.
Notes to Editors
- To arrange an interview with the authors, or with spokespersons about the Quick Reads campaign, contact the Basic Skills Agency Press Office (see previous page for contact details). The Agency's press team can also provide Quick Reads logos, photographs and book visuals.
- World Book Day is the biggest annual celebration of books and reading in the UK. For information on World Book Day activities and events contact Guy Pargeter for the Welsh Books Council, tel: 01970 823375, email: email@example.com
- The Basic Skills Agency – a Government funded national organisation working at arms' length from government – is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the National Strategy, Words Talk – Numbers Count, on behalf of the Welsh Assembly Government.
- The Basic Skills Agency is the national development agency for literacy and numeracy in England and Wales. We are funded primarily by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) and the Welsh Assembly Government. Our mission is to contribute to raising standards of basic skills in England and Wales. Our aims are to develop approaches that most effectively improve standards of basic skills and disseminate good practice. Our Patron is HRH The Princess Royal, the Chairman is Garry Hawkes CBE, and the Director of the Basic Skills Agency is Alan Wells OBE.