Since 1967, International Literacy Day (ILD) celebrations have taken place annually around the world to remind the public of the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights. At CAVA we believe in the power of education and literacy to create a fairer and more sustainable society. The Access to HE Diploma helps people realise their potential. Literary skills are just one of the many skills which students will develop and grow through undergoing the an Access to HE Diploma.
To celebrate International Literacy Day, below you can find a short testimonial and video interview from previous Access to HE Diploma student Simone Chalkley who was recently awarded the prestigious Snoo Wilson Prize for Scriptwriting. The CAVA team have also shared some of their favourite books in the spirit of the day.
Simone Chalkley - Access to HE Diploma (Humanities) - Cambridge Regional College 2014-15
Returning to the classroom after difficult experiences as a youngster was nerve-racking, but it quickly became apparent that times have changed and that as an adult learner my opinions and ideas were valid and acceptable. During my Access to HE Diploma, I gained a firm foundation in my chosen field of Humanities – English Literature, Sociology, and History – as well as acquiring strong academic skills of researching, essay writing, presentations, and revision and exam techniques. And it all happened in a comfortable environment, with encouraging lecturers that had patience and were genuinely enthused about their subject matters. This positive educational experience gave me a newfound confidence in my abilities to continue to pursue an academic path. I have since attained a BA in English Literature with Creative Writing and learned and mastered the new skill of scriptwriting, even going on to win an undergraduate scriptwriting award. I had already taken a non-traditional route to professionally train and establish myself as a proofreader and editor but now I have further expertise in the field of fiction across a range of media and feel justified in adding ‘writer’ to my credentials. The Access to HE Diploma was the start of this whole process.
CAVA Book Recommendations:
Prelude to Foundation by Isaac Asimov
Prelude to Foundation is my favourite book as it brings together adventure, hard science fiction, and sociology, in an attempt to improve the lives of millions in the galaxy. The story evolves into a whole series of seven books, which tie together with Asimov's other Robot and Empire series. It inspired so much of subsequent science fiction and even technological advances in the real world.
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
Picking your favourite book is a bit like picking your favourite child. From a final list of three (Handmaid's Tale, I Capture the Castle, the Starless Sea), I have chosen 'The Starless Sea' by Erin Morgenstern. This is a fabulous read - five stars are not enough. The book pulls you into its pages. Books within books, stories within stories. A book for book lovers. You will want to savour every word.
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
My favourite book is The Picture of Dorian Gray: The Picture of Dorian Gray combines all the best bits of Oscar Wilde’s writing into one novel, every time I read it I find another thing to enjoy about it. Aswell as being one of my favourite books to read, it also brings back vivid memories of A Level English lessons and the joy of studying books.
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens holds a dear place in my heart. Although it is not necessarily the book I have most enjoyed over the years (although it is excellent), I love it because it was the book that made me realise that I was a reader!
I discovered the book aged 7yrs on my grandparents' bookshelves and squirrelled it away to sit on their stair landing. Sitting under the little nose-height window on the stairs, I learnt from humble, hilarious Joe Gargery, oblivious Pip and uppity Estella that this was my thing, and a lifelong passion was born!
Solaris by Stanislaw Lem
The book I have chosen is Solaris by Stanislaw Lem because I remember reading it after not reading many fiction books for a long time and it blew me away and reignited my love for fiction. There are plenty of spooky moments for those who like darker stories like me and there are moments of really fascinating hard science fiction. Overall the book incapsulates many of the themes which I love in stories whilst challenging the reader to think more critically about what it means to be sentient. Definitely worth a read for any budding humanities students!