Published on

31 August 2023

'A real page turner!' Reading challenge a success for CLASP

Members of CLASP Wokingham were presented with certificates for completing the Reading Ahead challenge

Members of CLASP holding their certificates at Wokingham Library

Members of a local charity have been presented with certificates after successfully completing a reading challenge during the summer holidays, thanks to help from Wokingham Borough Council’s libraries team.

CLASP, a self-advocacy group for adults with learning disabilities in Wokingham Borough, took part in the Reading Ahead scheme. Members were encouraged to read and give their opinion on six books, but they could also choose audiobooks, newspapers, magazines and poems.

The aim is that participants challenge themselves to try something new and discover that reading can be a pleasure, as well as helping to build confidence. A total of 13 members completed the challenge and were recently presented with a certificate at Wokingham Library.

Cllr Sarah Kerr, executive member for climate emergency and resident services, said: “Our libraries team always do a fantastic job at helping the community when it comes to events and challenges like this. We can all find it hard to set aside time to enjoy a good book, but when we make time it can be an incredibly rewarding experience and inspire you to find another read from the same author or genre.

“The Reading Ahead challenge is a great way to get people to realise that it is not only an achievement if you finish a bulky novel – enjoying a short story, magazine or audiobook can be just as satisfying. I’m thrilled to hear such wonderful feedback from the team at CLASP, who are always so enthusiastic and throw themselves at challenges like this with a big smile and positive attitude.”

CLASP CEO Debs Morrison talking to members at Wokingham Library


Reading Ahead is not the only initiative that the council’s libraries team have been running recently, with the annual Summer Reading Challenge and The Little Explorers Club giving younger readers the chance to fall in love with books as well.

Debs Morrison, CEO of CLASP, also took part in Reading Ahead and felt it was incredibly beneficial for the members to do. She said: “It was great to have a challenge to encourage us all to invest more time in reading, listening to talking books and realising that reading a newspaper or magazine were all great contributions.

“It certainly reignited my interest in reading and making time for myself. It made my free time more purposeful. It feels good and I would highly recommend it. Thank you to the team at Wokingham Library for all their help and for partnering with CLASP.”

Actor David Jason’s autobiography, No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy and Grandpa’s Great Escape by David Walliams were among the group’s favourite reads from the challenge. Trustee Steven Allen enjoyed reading a book about the history of his hometown of Woodley, which contained facts he had never heard before, including the underground streams in the area.

Member Nikk Brown added: “It made me think differently. It also made me realise why I hadn’t been reading so much and missing out on that enjoyment. I also get to create images and characters in my head.”

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