Quick Reads and unionlearn

Quick Reads, a programme run by The Reading Agency, are short and engaging books for adults, written by bestselling authors. The books are designed to build a love of reading or restore it among those who may be struggling to find the time to read. 

Quick Reads

The Quick Reads programme was launched in 2006 and since then over 4.8 million copies of more than 100 Quick Reads titles have been distributed. They’re used widely across workplaces through trade unions as well as adult learning providers, colleges, prisons and are available to borrow from public libraries.  

The 2020 titles  

After a year’s break the Quick Reads programme has been relaunched this February thanks to the bestselling author Jojo Moyes who has funded the programme until 2021. The brand new 2020 titles are Notting Hill: A West Side Story by Candice Carty-Williams, Darkness Rising by A.A. Dhand, The Little Dreams of Lara Cliffe by Milly Johnson, The Donor by Clare Mackintosh, a special version of This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay and A Fresh Start, a collection of short stories commissioned by Fanny Blake. Find out more about all the titles on The Reading Agency website

The books are available for £1 on the high street and online via Hive, WHSmith, Foyles, Waterstones and Amazon and free to borrow from your local library. Contact your union or unionlearn as they may have stock that they can share with you.  

Helping someone to read is a priceless gift. It opens up great avenues for all, whether it’s reading menus or War and Peace. Quick Reads are ideal for learners and their reading buddies. There are also titles by many authors and something to suit everyone.

Tazim, Regional Learning Organiser UNITE South West. 

Using Quick Reads with less confident readers 

Quick Reads are an entry point into reading for pleasure so they work well with Reading Ahead, our adult reading programme that invites emergent readers to pick six reads and record, rate and review them in a personal reading diary. As the books are reviewed by literacy experts we ensure that the language is engaging, easy to understand and uses short words and sentences, which makes them very useful for boosting the confidence of reluctant readers.  

Before Quick Reads I was never confident with reading because I knew that I needed help with a lot of the words and with understanding what they mean. I feel now that I'm a lot more interested in reading.

Julia, Reading Ahead participant from Gateshead learningSkills. Read the full case study on The Reading Agency website. 

Quick Reads and Unionlearn 

We are always delighted to see the continued enthusiasm for and promotion of Quick Reads within Unionlearn and unions across the country. The launch of Quick Reads 2020 was accompanied by case studies from up and down the UK showing how Union Learning Reps and Organisers are expanding the reach and possibilities of Quick Reads. You can read them on the Unionlearn website to get some inspiration about how you could use and share the books in your workplace. 

They can open the conversation about what people are reading. For instance, we had two members of staff sat side by side who enjoyed reading books about the second world war but didn’t know until we got talking about what we read for pleasure.

Sean, Usdaw ULR coordinator at DHL 

If you’re interested in running Reading Ahead in your workplace or purchasing Quick Reads for your union get in touch with me at [email protected]. To sign up to our monthly newsletter that shares the latest on both Quick Reads and Reading Ahead or to share how you’re already using Reading Ahead or Quick Reads to encourage reading for pleasure in your workplace contact [email protected].  

The Books Council of Wales produce Quick Reads in the Welsh language. Visit their website to find out about their programme.

Profile picture for user Louisa Steel

Louisa Steel

Louisa Steel is Head of Engagement (Adults) at The Reading Agency.

She is responsible for leading on The Reading Agency's reading offer to adults, reviewing and developing existing programmes such as Quick Reads and Reading Ahead and focusing on support for less confident or emergent readers.