The Reading Plan

Shannon Trust Reading Plan has two distinct features - the method of delivery and the reading manual used.

The one to one relationship between Mentor and Learner makes the Shannon Trust Reading Plan stand apart from formal education options. It attracts Learners who are reluctant, for what ever reason, to participate in formal education and allows them to progress at their own pace. Achievements are celebrated and often a Shannon Trust Award for Progress is the first certificate  a prisoner has ever received. Success breeds confidence and many Learners progress into formal education and training. Mentors enjoy the opportunity to directly help others during their time in prison, for many it can be their first experience of being in a supportive and encouraging role and Mentors often report gaining as much benefit from mentoring as the learners they support. 

The Reading Plan:

Engages Learners because it is:

  • informal - which appeals to those who usually avoid prison learning opportunities
  • peer-mentored - prisoners who can read teach those who can't
  • one to one so prisoners go at their own pace
  • easy to see progress and measure achievement

Benefits Mentors because:

  • they develop communication, empathy and motivation skills
  • their self-esteem and confidence increases from being in a trusted and responsible role
  • they are often inspired to go on to study for mentoring qualifications and access other learning opportunities

Prisons welcome the reading plan because it: 

  • can lead the learner into formal education and training
  • costs the prison next to nothing
  • has demonstrated that it can improve prisoner behaviour and reduce self-harm

Shannon Trust provides

  • Training: for Reading Plan Leads and Mentors
  • Resources: Turning Pages manuals, readers and promotional material free of charge
  • Support: of a trained volunteer, area co-ordinator and Regional Manager and the Shannon Trust network which develops and promotes best practice.