Over 125,000 primary school children who registered to take part in the country’s biggest one-week reading competition have smashed the campaign’s 10-million minutes reading target.

The children, from 447 schools across the country, were challenged by education charity Achievement for All to see if they could read for a combined total of 10-million minutes in just one week. The aim was to highlight the importance of reading and help boost children’s literacy levels across the country. 

By the end of the week, the children not only reached the target, but excelled it, clocking up a fantastic 15,995,407 minutes of reading.

The winning school was Monks Abbey Primary School in Lincoln whose 420 children read for an incredible 667,895 minutes. Second place was Baden-Powell School in London, Nursery Hill Primary in Nuneaton came third, and fourth place was Park Hill Junior School in Croydon, each crowned as the three runner-up’s.

Monks Abbey Primary School will be presented with the first place prize of a brand new library or reading area worth £10,000 courtesy of Peters, with the three runner-up schools’ each receiving a £250 voucher to spend on primary resources with Oxford University Press. 5th – 9th placed schools will receive notebooks and filing products from Nuco International Ltd and 10th – 29th placed schools will receive a fun sticker pack courtesy of The Sticker Factory.

Levi aged 11 from Monks Abbey Primary School said:

“Before the challenge I didn’t really like reading that much, I only ever used to read my football magazine. The challenge gave me opportunity to challenge myself and read different types of texts. At any time of the day other children were talking about books and the reading areas in school were used more than ever. The challenge really inspired me to read more!”

Emily aged 10 added:

“The Ten Million Minutes challenge was awesome! I challenged myself to read over 4 hours every day and one night I was even up until 2am because I just couldn’t put the book down! Everyone in our school was so excited and determined to try their best. Every day I could see everyone reading all the time, even at playtime!”

And Jaicob aged 9 commented:

“I loved the reading challenge! Everyone in the school was so excited and always asking where we were on the leader board. We constantly asked Miss Briggs to check where we were and our class always tried to read more than the previous day. I can’t believe we’ve won! Monks Abbey rocks!”

Charlotte Briggs, Year 6 teacher at Monks Abbey Primary School, said:

“It is our year of reading at Monks Abbey and our main priority is to promote a reading for pleasure culture within our school. This challenge has been a perfect platform for us to develop ‘the buzz for reading’. The children took part in various different reading activities such as: extreme reading, drop everything and read, books clubs and we established ‘book buddy classes’ where older children in school shared books with younger children. The children absolutely loved taking part in these extra opportunities and is something we have continued with after the challenge.

“It still feels quite surreal that we’ve won the competition, the impact this prize will have on our school will be incredible. We are all so proud of the children who have tried their very best with this challenge and we can’t wait to get started with making some changes to our school reading areas! The children, and staff, are so excited!”

The competition took place from 9th – 15th March 2017 and was backed by an abundance of prolific authors including Anthony Horowitz, Anne Fine, Jonathan Meres, Ian Douglas and Claire Freedman. The leaderboard was based on the average number of minutes read per child to ensure the competition was fair for schools of all sizes.

Professor Sonia Blandford, founder and CEO of Achievement for All, said:

“Ten Million Minutes is designed to be a fun and engaging challenge to inspire children to read through a competitive element. It’s heart-warming to hear all the wonderful tales from the schools following the challenge and the difference it is already making to children who were struggling to read.

“Research shows that reading for just ten minutes a day can have a huge impact on a child’s progress. We are delighted that the children didn’t just smash our 10-million-minute target, they excelled it. Huge thanks to our sponsors for such fantastic prizes and to our supporters, but most of all huge huge congratulations to every single child, parent, carer and teacher involved in this unique campaign.”

Achievement for All’s ambassador David Gandy will be at the Every Child Included Conference on 14th June at Newbury Racecourse to personally congratulate the schools that took part.