Basic Skills

Basic skills services

Help from your library - basic skills

  • Milton Keynes libraries provide a range of material to help you improve your basic skills.
  • We have books to help you improve your reading skills.
  • These are free to borrow but you will need to join the library to borrow books.
  • We have various library resources that you may find helpful if you have dyslexia.

Basic skills resources for students and tutors

  • Basic skills collections for students are available at Central, Bletchley and Wolverton Libraries.
  • Quick Reads for students.

Help from Community Learning MK

  • Help is available in Milton Keynes for adults wishing to improve their reading, writing, maths and spelling skills.
  • To find out more visit the web pages for Adult Education at Community Learning MK.

The basic skills collection is available at Central, Bletchley and Wolverton Libraries only, unless otherwise stated.

Basic skills specialist publishers

Avanti Books

Avanti are the major supplier and distributor of basic skills materials in the UK. They also publish a range of simply produced 8 page illustrated texts for beginner adult readers.

Gatehouse Books

One of the early fruits of the early adult literacy movement, from Hulme in Manchester, they proudly say, "Gatehouse is a unique publisher. Our writers are adults who are developing their basic reading and writing skills. Their ideas and experiences make fascinating material for any reader, but are particularly relevant for adults working on their reading and writing skills. The writing strikes a chord – a shared experience of struggling against many odds. The format of the books is clear and uncluttered. The language is familiar and the text is often line-broken, so that each line ends at a natural pause."

King Street Readers (The North Shropshire College)

A series of simple readers set in King Street.

New Island books (The Open Door Series)

The Open Door series of short novels by leading Irish writers including Roddy Doyle and Marian Keyes. "Ideal for improving your reading skills while at the same time enjoying all the benefits of a good story," says the Avanti catalogue. To quote from their publicity: "The brainchild of bestselling author Patricia Scanlan, these books were originally commissioned to meet the needs of adults learning to read or improve their literacy skills. They have also become hugely popular with a general audience." Hopefully the future of basic skills publishing.

New Leaf Publishing

All beginner readers

  • Kath Wilcock – Leaving Home
  • Harold Henry Williams – The Bin Men
  • Angela Roscoe – In The Doghouse
  • Sheila Ryan – The Sandals
  • Chris Curley – The Cardigans
  • Marjorie Wells – At the Supermarket
  • Julie Openshaw – Memories of Nana
  • Thomas Campbell – My Mother
  • Charmaine Marrochia – The Kit Kat

All cool books

  • John Tuff – It All Started as a Joke
  • Paul Lloyd – Driven ambition
  • KC - ID Parade


  • Georgina Conway – My New World
  • Margaret Taylor – My Life With Joe
  • Charles Carrington – The Body Builder

Oxford Bookworms 

Read your way to better English with the Oxford Bookworms graded readers. We have a selection of these readers shared across Central, Bletchley, Wolverton and Westcroft Libraries and some include CDs.

Penguin Graded Readers

We hold a selection of Penguin Graded Readers mainly at Central and Bletchley Libraries. Some of these books come with CDs.

Quick Reads

You'll find a large selection of 'Quick Reads' at:

  • Central Library
  • Bletchley Library
  • Westcroft Library
  • Newport Pagnell Library
  • Wolverton Library
  • Stony Stratford Library

Big name authors are commissioned by The Reading Agency's Quick Reads to write short books that are specifically designed to be easy to read. They are the same as mainstream books in every respect but are simply shorter and easier to tackle for adults who are less confident in their reading skills.

Spike Press

Sally McKeon's set of books is aimed at adults who are beginner readers. All her books have large print and black and white illustrations. The stories on average consist of 30-75 words per page. Including the 'Survivors', 'Small Ads' and 'First Steps in Crime' series.

Milton Keynes City Council Libraries contact information

Milton Keynes Central Library, 555 Silbury Boulevard, Milton Keynes MK9 3HL