Today’s guest post is by Shiraz Engineer, Programme Coordinator at Booktrust, on the Read for My School competition.
Now in its third year, the Read for My School competition is well on its way to becoming bigger and better than ever before.
Booktrust is really proud to run this free national schools reading competition with Pearson, supported by the DfE. All schools have to do to take part is register, and then encourage their pupils to read as many books as they can! It’s all about reading for pleasure, and getting whole schools excited about books and reading. What could be more exciting than that?
The competition challenges children in Years 3-8 in England to read as many books as they can across two months of the spring term. This doesn’t seem so difficult when you look at the incentives – prizes are available for pupils and for schools at regional and national levels as well as through regular prize draws. A big thank you goes out to our generous prize partners: the Beano, Pottermore, Monsoon Accessorize, Penguin Schools, BFI and the Society of London Theatres. We are extremely lucky to have them all on board!
To help pupils find something great to read, a Recommended Reads list has been carefully selected by a panel of literacy experts. The list includes two Nosy Crow titles – The Spy Who Loved School Dinners by Pamela Butchart, and Space Pirates: Treasure by Jim Ladd. Both of these titles were very well received by the panel and will be an excellent addition to the list. Speaking on The Spy Who Loved School Dinners, panellist and Senior Lecturer of Education at the University of Winchester Liz Chamberlain said, “This is a charming and funny story with strong characters who will appeal to both girls and boys, and a storyline which will keep the pages turning.”
All pupils taking part also have access to a free digital library of over 150 titles which, this year, they can enjoy on their iPads and other mobile devices. Who knows – perhaps the experience of curling up with an entire library in one’s lap will inspire a new generation of e-reader fans.
In 2014, over 850,000 books were read by over 200,000 participants. This year, Read for My School hopes that pupils will read 1 million books. Since the competition kicked off on 19 January, pupils across the nation have already read a staggering 370,000 titles and still counting!
On 21st January, to celebrate the launch of Read for My School, we were joined at Stroud Green Primary School by children’s author Jeremy Strong and Nick Gibb MP, an eager supporter of the competition. Mr Gibb took great pleasure in reading one of his favourite books to pupils in the library, and shortly afterwards, Years 3-6 were treated to a reading by Jeremy Strong from his hilarious new book Romans on the Rampage. The school hall was full of laughter, especially during the Q&A session when Jeremy treated everyone to an anecdote about a child in a hospital who accidentally had a rubber glove superglued to his head – by the doctor!
Read for My School has a number of famous supporters including children’s author Liz Pichon, as well as less likely backers – namely ex-England football pro Frank Lampard! In an exclusive interview, Lampard said, “There’s a good range of books on this year’s list which is vital… To any child, I would say just pick up a book that grabs you and don’t worry what it is. Eventually, you will find something that you love.”
Read for My School 2015 runs until 20 March. Schools can still register to take part, start reading and be in for a chance to win some fantastic prizes both during and after the competition. If you’re a teacher and wish to register, just visit www.readformyschool.co.uk, click ‘Register as an Educator’ and follow the instructions on screen.
We’re really pleased to have Nosy Crow’s The Spy Who Loved School Dinners and Space Pirates: Treasure on our list. If you and your school are taking part in the competition, good luck and we hope you’re having lots of fun reading!