100 Million Minutes to inspire a generation of lifetime readers

‘Wow! A Hundred Million Minutes with half a million children!’ was the response by the Year 10, 11 and 12’s from Kingsford Community School in East London, when I announced our 100 Million Minutes Reading Challenge.

World Book Day 2018 marks the launch of our Challenge and the start of something big for every participating child, class, school, college, community group and early years setting – a competition where everyone is a winner.

As the following facts indicate, we need to act fast and act now:

  • Last summer statistics from the Department for Education showed that one in four children left primary school unable to read well
  • The Fair Education Alliance highlighted last year that up to three in five children from socio-economic disadvantage leave primary school without achieving the expected standard of reading. There is a reading gap of 9.2 months between less advantaged children and their more advantaged peers at age 11
  • Earlier research from the Institute of Education (IOE) shows that children who were read to regularly by their parents at age five performed better in tests at age 16 than those who were not read to in this way. In addition, the combined effect on children's progress of reading books often, going to the library regularly and reading newspapers at 16 was four times greater than the advantage children gained from having a parent with a degree.

Read, read, read!

Some of our marvellous author supporters have shared why they are backing the Challenge:

Chitra Soundar, Storyteller and Author of over 30 books including Farmer Falgu Goes on a Trip and Pattan’s Pumpkin and Storyteller:

Read and discover worlds you could visit…I’m a child of reading - I wouldn’t have become a world citizen without expanding the borders of my mind.”

Cliff McNish Author of the Silver Sequence, The Doomspell Trilogy and many others

'Reading fiction doesn't just improve your literacy level. The gift it really gives you is greater persuasiveness in life. Skill with words seriously impresses people. Do you want people to listen to you? Then read.'

Carnegie Medal winning author, Tanya Landman:

“Books are an escape, a refuge, an adventure, an education; they bring a reader comfort, joy, excitement, hope. They open minds and hearts and give imagination wings.

Opening a book is like opening a door to a different world where anything and everything is possible.” 

Join your Library and join in, the earlier the better!

I hope that 100 Million Minutes will encourage Mums, Dads, Grans and Grandads to read with their children, before they start school.

Accessing local libraries can play a vital role in opening up a world of words and this is why we have partnered with the Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians (ASCEL), Schools Library Services and Tower Hamlets Library Service.

Many libraries follow Surrey County Council and Trafford Council’s example by hosting Rhyme Time sessions to encourage engagement with words and many of these sessions will be clocking up minutes as part of their involvement in the Challenge.

The Challenge gives us an opportunity to shine a light on the vital role school librarians play in igniting a life-long love of reading in children and young people.

Gillian Harris, Head of Tower Hamlets Schools Library Service, outlines the 10 important roles of a school librarian:

  1. To promote enjoyment of, and excitement about, reading by developing a “reading year” of exciting activities and keeping the school informed local and national activities to promote reading to children and their families
  2. Working with teachers to teach children skills for independent learning
  3. Running book clubs and initiating discussions with teachers on a programme of reading events bringing their knowledge and contacts with the reading world into the school
  4. Working with classes in rotation on library and information skills and advise teachers on resources, opportunities and ideas
  5. Buying good quality resources for the school library and classroom libraries
  6. Ensuring teachers can access resources from the Schools Library Services
  7. Providing training and supervision for support staff in basic library routines.
  8. Ensuring consistency and maintaining the quality of the school library on a long-term basis and regardless of changes in personnel
  9. Taking forward engagement ideas such as running a family reading course after school for parents or taking books into the playground at home time to encourage parents to choose books with their children
  10. Engaging in national initiatives such as book awards, creative writing competitions and the 100 Million Minutes Reading Challenge that use school and public libraries for what they were intended, magnificent buildings that host cultural and social activities for our communities.

From World Book Day, early years settings, schools, colleges, parents, carers, childminders and other community groups across the UK will be coming together to try and collectively read for 100 million minutes over the month of March.

Following on from this, Achievement for All will advocate the importance of reading, libraries and wider educational issues in our forthcoming Every Child Included in Education Manifesto. This important call to arms, produced in partnership with over 30 leading organisations and educational experts, will be launched with Lord Jim Knight at the House of Lords at the end of month.

Please join us to inspire a generation of lifetime readers. Visit www.100millionminutes.org to take part or follow us on @AfA_Education #100MillionMinutes