On Thursday 7th March 2019 (World Book Day) 489,619 children and young people from around the world took part in the never-before-attempted challenge to read for 200 Million Minutes in just 26 days as part of Achievement for All’s 200 Million Minutes Reading Challenge.

In total over 140 million minutes were read in special reading assemblies, teddy bear picnics, reading events and competitions in schools, settings, libraries, community groups, businesses and organisations across the UK as well as in France, Italy, America, Canada, India and Australia!

Achievement for All’s biggest ever reading challenge, which is supported by learning company, Pearson, saw thousands of schools, settings and organisations taking part as they collectively smashed the 100 million minutes read in the 2018 Challenge. 

Seven year-old Rose Burgess from Rolvendon read the most minutes for an individual child with Marsham Street Community Nursery in London clocking up the highest average number of minutes per child for an Early Years Setting. Wylam First School in Wylam topped the primary school leaderboard with Smith’s Wood Academy in Birmingham reading the most average minutes for a secondary school. Castle Business & Enterprise College in Walsall scooped the top prize for a special school, while Grimsby Institute and Redditch Library took the prize for a college and community group/library category, respectively.

Achievement for All, the leading not-for-profit organisation that works in partnership with schools and settings to improve outcomes for all children and young people vulnerable to underachievement, hope that through this global challenge, more children will discover a love of reading.

Professor Sonia Blandford, CEO at Achievement for All said: “Our biggest challenge yet saw almost half a million children engage with reading across the globe! That is a fantastic result. 

“It’s vital that we introduce children and young people to the habit of reading in everyday life to improve their prospects and unlock new worlds and possibilities. Picking up a book, newspaper, comic or magazine helps develop language skills, imagination, communication and self-esteem and what better way to start that than through our challenge. Thank you to all those taking part.”

Sophie Thomson, Head of Primary English at Pearson said: “What a fantastic achievement for all who took part. Research shows how important it is that children read frequently and for pleasure, with studies demonstrating the positive impact on children’s vocabulary, reading scores and well-being. Reading is key to unlocking learning, and it’s fantastic to see through the 200 Million Minutes Reading Challenge so many children developing brilliant reading habits, the effects of which will last a lifetime.”

The Challenge saw support from a range of organisations including: Pearson, Skoolbo, Boogie Mites, KPMG, ICAP, The Sticker Factory, Authors Aloud and Discover Centre.

The 200 Million Minutes Reading Challenge will be back in 2020 where once again, schools, settings, community groups, organisations, libraries, businesses and individuals from across the world will once again attempt to smash the never-before-reached target!