Book Festivals and Vinyl Decals

Pack up your exhibition graphics and head to one of these book festivals!

There’s nothing quite like a good book festival to widen your reading horizons and open your mind to new ideas. The UK’s literary history is a truly iconic one, so it’s unsurprising that the country is littered with excellent festivals and events that bring book lovers from all over the country together to take part in discussions, panel interviews and readings. Publishers small and large, from all over the country gather at these festivals to show off their new publications, tout their new authors and build hype for upcoming releases.

The best book festivals give readers the chance to expand their library, meet like-minded readers and talk to some of the people that have written their favourite books. Whilst major publishers tout their wares with vinyl decals, smaller book sellers are content to simply lay out trestle tables with a chalk board sign and gingham cloth as their only advertising ploy. Take a look at a few of the UK’s most notorious book festivals and see if any take your fancy…

Edinburgh International Book Festival

10th-26th August 2019

If you’ve not visited Scotland before then why not take a trip to the Edinburgh International Book Festival? Once a year a tented village is erected in the centre of the city and over 1000 authors including philosophers, comic creators, historians and economists gather to show off their new books. Political leaders such as Jeremy Corbyn have spoken at the even and his year’ event is likely to be no different.

Bloody Scotland

20th-22nd September 2019

If your tastes in reading are particularly gruesome then you may want to time your trip to Scotland a little later in the year so that you can pop in to Bloody Scotland, Scotland’s International Crime Writing Festival. Every sub-genre of crime will be in attendance, including fictional forensics, psychological thrillers and even a bit of cosy crime, for those who can’t stand the gory details.

Verve Poetry Festival

20th-23rd February 2020

The UK is well known for its poetry pedigree and there’s no better place to get a grip with it’s historic lineage (and its exciting upcoming stars) than by visiting Birmingham’s newest, most exciting literary festival. Taking place in the centre of the city and just a short walk away from New Street Station, Verve offers visitors the opportunity to meet award-winning poets, take on a challenge at an open mic and attend workshops to help them sharpen their craft.

Hay Festival

23rd May-2nd June 2020

Arguably one of the best known literary festivals in the world, the Hay Festival attracts thousands of readers young and old for a huge range of events that are intended to inspire and educate. On top of this fantastic literary lineup you’ll also find a wide range of award-winning food stalls and a plenty of opportunities to fill up a glass of real ale or lovely artisan drinks.…

Broaden Your Reading Horizons: Texts Online

Read something different today!

As much as we here at RCWRU believe firmly in the power of literature, it can often be hard to get people excited about it.

In truth, although novels are arguably one of the best way to get excited about reading, there are loads of other forms and structures that you can read the written language in. The more forms and structures that you learn how to read in, the stronger the reader you will become. When you attempt to read a new kind of text you are exercising your mind, teaching it how to get to grips with a new way of thinking. Most of the time, you’re also forced to learn new terminology and vocabulary, which is always useful.

Free Plays & Poetry

We’ve already discussed how you can get hold of classic pieces of literature online for absolutely nothing, but did you know you can do the same for plays and poetry too? Sites like All Poetry host a huge collection of poems for free giving you the opportunity to get a handle on centuries of poetry, both classic and modern. The Online Library of Liberty is also a great resource for those looking to expand their reading base into different parts of history.

Government White Papers & Laws

Have you ever attempted to read any laws or constitutions? Whilst these kinds of texts can be amongst the most obtuse in the English language, deciphering their meaning can prove to be a satisfying challenge for advanced readers. You’ll be able to access every single law and amendment at – it might take a while for you to get your head around the terminology, so be prepared with a dictionary!

Niche Websites

The internet is literally littered with quality content that runs the whole gamut of human knowledge. It doesn’t matter what subject you’re looking to read on whether it’s plumbing, micro-climates or origami – you can guarantee that there’s a website out there which can fill you in on a new area of discussion that you might have never considered before.

Encyclopaedia Entries

Whilst Wikipedia might not be the most reliable source of information, it nevertheless hides a treasure trove of information on every conceivable topic in the world. You can literally spend hours shifting from one topic to the next, seamlessly drifting through the reams of user-generated content that is added to the site on a daily basis by a community of budding archivists.

Long-Form Articles

Whilst newspaper circulation seems to be getting smaller every year, the reading of long-form non-fiction articles has been steadily growing in popularity, thanks to readers eagerly sharing them through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Whether it’s an opinion piece on a particularly tricky topic of current affairs or a review of a new art exhibition, these articles require the reader to invest more time and concentration in order to benefit from reading them.

If you need any advice on how to further improve your reading skills or feel that you have something to add the site then please contact us right here.

How To Get Your Kids Into Reading

Everyone has a right to read: including your kids.

We here at the Reading Community Welfare Rights Unit believe wholeheartedly in the power of reading to galvanise and improve people from the ground up.

There’s never a better opportunity in life to get a head start on your reading skill than childhood. During our early years we’re forced to devote hours of our lives to self-improvement. Some kids take to reading at an early age and do not need any further encouragement, however some prefer to focus on other subjects and can often suffer later in life because of this.

Every child should be encouraged to read as much as possible, so that they can develop good communication skills and learn better from the writing of others. Here are a few nifty ways that you can get your offspring into reading:

Watch the movie then read the book

There are loads of movies based on timeless classics that kids will love. Classics stories like The Wind in the Willows and The Fantastic Mr. Fox have been successfully adapted in recent years into movies that will entertain both adults and kids. You can create positive memories for the child by watching the film, which should then make the book more of an attractive prospect to the child.

Find books that match their interests

Every kid has their own unique set of likes and dislikes. Whilst these hobbies and interest might well change over the years, there’s no reason why you can’t capitalise on their flavour of the week. For every niche there’s a children’s book to accompany it, whether it’s space, dinosaurs or football – you can usually find cheap copies of related kids books on Ebay or Amazon.

Lead by example – drop the phone

The amount of reading that your child will want to do, will vary depending on the kind of example that you are leading as a parent. If you’re the kind of person who never picks up a book and spends their spare time either watching TV or swiping on your phone, then you shouldn’t be too surprised if your kids shun reading in favour of something else. Spend time reading in their presence to show that you value it as a skill.

Read with them every day

The best thing about reading is that you can pretty much do it any time and anywhere. The advent of kindles and e-readers means that you can take your child’s book collection wherever they go, so every spare minute is an opportunity to get some reading done. Whether it’s car journeys, or if you’re waiting for a bus or sat in a cafe, there’s always time to read something.

Add treats to incentivize progress

If the worse comes to worst then you can always cheat a little and accompany reading with rewards. This might be a sweet or chocolate for every chapter of a book finished, or a special prize for a book being completed (try not to make the prize another book). Either way, if the child begins to subconsciously associate reading with rewards then, sooner or later, you’ll find that she will read of her own accord.…

Winter Reading Tips

The nights are drawing in – are you ready for Winter?

That’s right – Winter’s here and although that does mean that you’ll be spending less time outside, enjoying the lovely outside world, this is also a perfect time to get reading more.

With the nights closing in that much earlier, why not find yourself some cheap books and stay tucked inside home, instead of braving the nasty weather outside?

It can be difficult to develop a good reading habit during the summer months, when the weather is fine and the days are long – however, once the cold Winter weather comes blowing in, it becomes remarkably easier to simply forget about your social life and get lost in a book. Reading is an activity that truly demands your attention for long periods of time, making it a perfect hobby to pick up during the Winter.

In respect to the oncoming nights of darkness and inevitable solitude, we’re going to run through some of the things that you can do this Winter to improve your reading skill:

Stay wrapped up warm

The Winter is a tough time for all of us Brits, mostly because of the bitingly chilly weather that plagues the entire country. In order for you to be able to keep your personal reading skills up to scratch during this Winter you need stay wrapped up warm. Maintaining a consistent, healthy temperature is really important should you wish to remain focused whilst you read. For maximum warmth try a winning combination of thick fur pom pom hats and thick Mongolian lambswool scarf.

Keep your library stocked

The long, dark Winter stretches on for months on end – are you sure you’ll have enough books to read in the mean time? Knowing how dangerous the outside world is during this time, you’ll want to make sure that you have as many books around you as possible. This means ordering and buying as many as possible, before the temperature outside simply becomes to cold to survive in.

Don’t run out of food

If you want to live out this Winter, you’re going to need more than just books to survive. Most human beings need at least 1,200 calories to survive every day – when the weather is as bad as it is now, you might even need more. Running out of food mid-Winter can be a real pain and will inevitably force you outside of the house, not ideal when you consider how many roving groups of bandits are around from November to February.

Watch out for raiders

Large bands of bandits and raiders have been patrolling the Winter wastes for the last few years now, sometimes stretching out a quick trip to the shop from 15 minutes to an interminable 3 months (depending on the quality of shackles that the raiders use to restrain you). If you absolutely must leave the house then it’s vital to keep your wits about you. Try not to travel alone. If you have no other choice then be prepared run for your life. Raiders often have limited libraries, so capture at their hands might well put your reading skill back by a few years.

Stay calm at all times

Winter can be a really rough time for everyone – freezing winds, roaming raiders and fell beasts make this a treacherous time to learn to read, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to improve your reading skill! Just remember to wrap at warm, keep well stocked up in food and stay calm.…

Where Can I Find Cheap Books?

Many people are put off reading by the price that they think they’ll have to pay for books.

Books are a big business and continue to make millions for authors and publishers alike – however, you don’t have to spend serious amounts money to get reading.

There are loads of cheap ways that you can get your hands on books, as long as you don’t mind buying second hand or purchasing items that are a little worn around the edges. Thanks to advancing technologies, there are also few cheap ways of reading books online too.

Here are our top tips on getting books on the cheap – happy bargain hunting!

Use a Library

This first option is a bit of a cheat as you won’t be keeping any of the books that you read, however (as long as you hand your books in on time) you should be able to read as much as you like for free! Most towns and cities have their own libraries with a good collection of books from a variety of genres – you can access a lot of these online, allowing you to check what they have and even order in particular titles.

Car Boot Sale

Second-hand books don’t get much cheaper than at car boots. If you’re not too fussed about the condition of the books that you’re reading then these can be great places to pick up cheap reading material. Car boot salesman are usually eager to flog as much stuff as possible, so expect to leave a sale with more than just a few books under your arm!


It might be hard to believe, but the multi-billion dollar company that now sells everything under the sun, first started life as an online book store. Their aggressive undercutting of high-street prices led to them quickly diversifying to the departments, but they still sell books at a cheap price! Book sellers also sell their wares through the shopping portal with prices as low as 1p (not including postage)!

Charity Shops

Although the golden age of charity shops might well be behind us no, (thanks to bargain hungry hipsters), you can still pick up good deals on books if you look in the right places. The ‘big brand’ charity shops like Oxfam are best avoided as they often price their books a little higher than the smaller charities. You might have to hunt quite hard for the book you’re looking for, but the prices in these places will be better than any other high-street shop.

Online Sources


Thanks to the open-source nature of the internet and the way copyright laws work, you can often find complete text files of classic book and plays for free online. Sites like the Literature Project host complete copies of many classic works of literature that are considered as ‘must-reads’ by the reading community. You can either print out these yourself, or save on paper and read online.


Finally, when all else fails, you can guarantee that you’ll be able to find the book you’re looking for on eBay. This is one of the best sites for locating specific editions of novels as it pulls in listings uploaded from all over the world. Similar to the independent sellers on Amazon, you can often pick up very cheap deals on books here, but it’s important to pay attention to the delivery charges, especially if they’re being delivered from outside the country.…

How Further Reading Could Help You

If your reading skills are of a decent reading standard already then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be making the most of your skill.

Many people are capable readers who have simply forgotten the wealth of knowledge and experience that they can gain by just picking up a book.

For those that choose the path of literacy there are whole host of valuable outcomes that you could benefit from. We’ve laid out just a few of the things that you could benefit from should you choose to pick up a book and get reading:

Learn how to do something new

Books aren’t just there to entertain us, often they can teach us new skills, ideologies or even languages. For busy people, who work full-time or perhaps have children, it can be really difficult to find the time to learn and develop personally. Books, such as the For Dummies series, specialise in breaking down subjects or skills so that they can be easily learnt by beginners in their own time. Subjects include: Chess, Programming and Fishing.

Get inspired by History

If you feel like you need to learn more about History or simply want to gain a fresh perspective on life then you might want to try reading a historical novel. These books take real-life historical figures and lightly dramatise their lives – good examples are Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies, the first of a trilogy of books centred on Thomas Cromwell. Although lengthy, these kinds of book are great at educating and entertaining at the same time.

Get to grips with new formats

Advanced readers can test their skills by attempting to read a completely different format. These kinds of documents can often be a little harder to ferret out, but they can make for truly absorbing reading. Getting your hands on a measured building survey, for example, could be bewildering at first, but you’ll start to understand more about this niche the more you read them. You can also raid to find legal documents, such as laws and policies, that will really flex your skills.

Gain insight into another life

There might be no better way to experience another culture, or discover more about other peoples, than by reading an autobiography. People have been writing down their life stories for centuries now, making this kind of book particularly easy to pick up. Most of the time people choose to write their life story in a casual style, matching the way that they talk. This often leads to a personal reading experience where you’re allowed to truly get to know the subject.

Read within your knowledge base

Although many people choose to read books that broaden their knowledge base, there’s nothing wrong with reading within your interests. If you’re passionate about a certain subject then you can advance your career using this or simply deepen your knowledge for your own satisfaction. It might be that you have to spend more time and money reading deeply in to a subject, but it could lead you to becoming a true expert in your own field.…

Starting Out: Small Steps

Reading is just like any other hobby or skill: it takes time to get better.

You can’t simply improve your reading ability over night – it’s not that easy.

The road to a better reading ability starts here! If you’ve decided to improve your reading skill then you’ve come to the right place. Reading is a key part of the human experience, depriving yourself of such a pleasure will limit your understanding of the world around you and will also hamper your ability to communicate with other people.

These tips have been designed to help the kind of ‘functionally illiterate‘ person, of which 15% of our country is made up of. These people can read short sections of text, but will often struggle with anything long or involving a subject that they have little knowledge of. Before you get started on your reading literacy journey, take a look at these ideas to aid you in your quest for knowledge!

Practice reading every day

Finding time to read every day is crucial if you wish to increase your skill level. This doesn’t mean scrolling through Facebook for hours, ‘reading’ people’s rants and comments. This means dedicating at least a half-hour or whole hour to sitting down and reading a single piece of text. Depending on your skill level this could either be a short-story from a collection or a good-sized news or magazine article.

Read a wide range of texts

It’s crucial that you read a wide range of texts. By constantly challenging yourself to read different types of text you will be able to understand the complexities behind the English language quicker. A children’s book can be just as enlightening as reading a bit of the Bible, if you approach reading from this angle – it’s also a good idea to read non-narrative text (such as articles or papers) based around subjects of your interest.

Try and read on paper as much as possible

Whilst reading on screens might well be one of the most convenient ways to read, but most mobile devices do not lend themselves well to long periods of reading. Despite the popularity of e-readers and tablets, reading a book with the use of natural light or a lamp is a much more sustainable, natural way to appreciate the written word. You’ll be able to read for much longer stretches if you choose to read on paper.

Keep a record of the things that you read


Recording your progress is a great way of improving your confidence and self-esteem. Simply use a book or diary to make a note of what you’ve been reading on a day-to-day basis so that you can look back at what you have accomplished at the end of each week. Using this method you can keep track of ongoing books and also reflect on things that you have read in the past.

Write about your reading experiences!

One of the best ways to advance your reading skills is by writing about them! Although you might not feel like you are capable of expressing your opinions on a text, let alone putting them down to writing, writing just a few words about how a text has chimed with you can aid your development greatly. You can start by simply drawing out a spider-diagram of what you’ve learnt, before attempting to collect those thoughts into a cohesive paragraph.…