Staff and students at Walsall College are invited to read, rate and review six books or articles over six months as part of the Reading Ahead initiative.
The six-month challenge will kick-start on the 1st November, and possible reading materials can range from fiction and graphic novels to articles, blogs and poems.
Reading Ahead is a national programme run by The Reading Agency every year through schools, and colleges. Participants choose six reads to rate and review, with the chance to enter a prize draw when they complete the challenge.
Walsall College took part in the initiative last year, achieving a Silver Award for getting over a hundred staff members and students on board. This year, they have their eyes set for Gold and are encouraging more people in the college to get involved, whether it be for college work or as a hobby.
With reading being proven to help reduce stress, Walsall College aims to use the Reading Ahead initiative to promote mental wellbeing amongst its staff and students.
Last year, the college ran the challenge from November 2016 to April 2017. Certificates were handed out to participants the following month during Mental Health Awareness Week, where the positive impact reading has on mental health was highlighted.
117 staff and learners across the college took part, including Achieving Together, ESOL, Foundation Learning and GCSE English students.
Debbie Williams, Learning Facilitator at Walsall College, said: “The aim of this initiative is to get people reading who don’t normally or read more than they currently do.
“Once participants have registered, they are given a diary to track six reads which they then read, review and rate in the diary within six months. At the end, they receive a certificate and get entered into a prize draw.
The winner of the national prize draw will have their name included in one of Ann Cleeves’ new books, the bestselling writer behind ITV’s Vera.
All staff and students who have taken part will also be in with a chance to win an Amazon Fire Tablet as part of the college’s own prize draw.
“We have received some great feedback from the students showing the impact that taking apart has had on them”.
Walsall College offer part-time and evening courses in Functional Skills and GCSE English.