Author inspires at awards day
AUTHOR Dorothy Koomson was the guest of honour at Uxbridge College’s Reading Ahead 2018 awards recently.
Dorothy, whose best-selling books include My Best Friend’s Girl and The Ice Cream Girls, signed copies of her novel The Beach Wedding, which was given away to students who completed this year’s national challenge, which is run by The Reading Agency.
She also presented awards and talked about her life and career, including writing stories for her friends when she was still at school.
Dorothy is internationally renowned for her novels, which have been included on the Richard & Judy Summer Reads shortlist, while The Ice Cream Girls was made into a drama for ITV in 2013.
Her most recent book, The Brighton Mermaid, was published earlier this year.
Run through public libraries, adult learning organisations, colleges, workplaces and prisons, Reading Ahead invites participants to pick six reads and record, rate and review them in a diary in order to get a certificate.
A total of 900 students took part in the challenge across the college this year, including 350 ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) students based at Hayes, as well as Functional Skills students from the Uxbridge campus. Dorothy attended signings at both sites.
Shelley Cawley, learning resources manager at Uxbridge College, who co-ordinated Reading Ahead this year, said: “It was amazing to have a bestselling author like Dorothy Koomson at the awards ceremonies – she was a real inspiration and a great role model in so many ways.
“This year Uxbridge College has supported the highest number of ESOL students yet to complete the challenge.
“This is a huge achievement as most ESOL learners were unable to speak, read or write English at the start of their courses.”
Genevieve Clarke, from The Reading Agency, said: “We are delighted that Uxbridge College continues to have such success with our Reading Ahead programme.
“We know that it is particularly valued by ESOL learners for whom reading is an ideal pathway to increased vocabulary and comprehension skills.”
This year the challenge has focused on supporting English language skills for ESOL learners and others who needed support in this area, and included students completing some of their reviews in a timed exercise in class to help them prepare for their exams.
Reading material included topical articles about Professor Stephen Hawking and his legacy following his death in March, and the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, as well as The Journey by Francesca Sanna, a book based on interviews with refugees and echoing the journeys of a number of Uxbridge College students.
The Reading Agency is a charity supported with funding from Arts Council England. It aims to inspire people of all ages and all backgrounds to read for pleasure and empowerment. Working with partners, their aim is to make reading accessible to everyone.
Special Award winners at the college were:
Suja Sabrina Akter Rima Ahmadi Abouelhana Shrilekshmi Murtaza Mohamed