A common trend in our recent blog posts has been the importance of reading at home; instilling a love of books early on to prevent any form of reluctance manifesting later. But, what may have slipped between the lines in our latest discussions, is the idea that when we talk about reluctant or struggling readers, we are often talking about adults too. If someone hasn’t had the opportunity to develop functional literacy skills, let alone a love of books, in their childhood, we cannot expect them to magically have them on their 18th birthday. The fact that some children take their struggle to read all the way into adulthood still needs to be addressed.
For those of us that unconsciously turn to reading for pleasure, it is easy to take our literacy for granted. It is hard to imagine what adult life would be like without a decent ability to read yet, according to The Reading Agency, this is a reality for one in six adults. Similarly, as native English speakers, it is just as hard to imagine living in a foreign country without proper knowledge of the language as many immigrants do today. With an inability to communicate, adult life becomes much harder, and with the growing diversity of the UK, it is crucial that we are able to provide teaching resources for immigrants, and disadvantaged adults, who are keen to learn English.
All publishers like to know that their books are making a difference, and Ransom is no exception. So, when we recently heard from a patron of reading at a UK prison, we were ecstatic to learn that our Neutron Stars series had a positive impact on an adult learner, moving from reluctant and frustrated to feeling on top of the world with their progress. We were also very excited to be recommended by The Reading Agency for books that support English language learners in prisons.
There is a great difference between being a children’s publisher and an educational one: with adult classes like ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages), especially within prisons, it would be inappropriate to use the same resources that we use in primary schools. When teaching adults to read, it is so important to ensure that they don’t feel patronised, and having reading programmes, like Ransom’s Neutron Stars, that are specifically designed with adult interests in mind, we are one step closer to turning struggle and reluctance into understanding and enjoyment.
While our previous emphasis on instilling reading as a passion in children as early as possible is still very much a Ransom priority, it is also our passion to dedicate books to adults who desperately need literacy skills. It cannot be understated how much basic literacy skills can turn a life around. Whatever your views on the justice system, we cannot deny that every human has the right to learn to read, let alone enjoy it. From rehabilitating prison inmates to teaching immigrants our native English, literacy in these adults’ lives can be an amazing fresh start, and it gives us great pride to support these programmes.
Currently reading: Christina Henry’s Lost Boy