Following recent research [1] from Childwise revealing that the number of five-16 year-olds who read books for pleasure has declined, Achievement for All is calling for schools, settings, families, libraries, community groups, businesses and organisations from across the world to come together to reignite a love of reading during their 200 Million Minutes Reading Challenge, this March.

The research shows that whilst the average amount of reading per day has remained consistent year on year (0.6 hours),more than one in five (21%) children never read books or magazines for pleasure, compared to 17% last year. In addition:

  • Boys and girls have similar reading habits at primary age, but differences appear from the start of secondary school. Worryingly, 40% of secondary-aged boys say they never read compared to a third of girls of the same age

  • More than a quarter of children and young people (27%) never read books in their own time, compared to 21% last year

  • Unlike offline reading, online reading doesn’t decline with age, with teenage girls remaining the most intense online readers

Speaking about the findings, Achievement for All CEO, Sonia Blandford, said: “Literacy levels are one of the greatest drivers of social inequality in the UK today. Up to two in five children from socio-economic disadvantage leave primary school without achieving the expected standard of reading and, sadly, many of them go on to fall further behind in their schooling, lack self-confidence and face a future with significantly diminished opportunities.

“It is up to us to inspire a generation of lifetime readers, to ignite a love of reading among all children and young people and keep the flame alive throughout their education and long into their lives. And that, is what our 200 Million Minutes Reading Challenge hopes to do!”

On Thursday 7th March 2019 (World Book Day), Achievement for All will be launching their biggest challenge yet as they bring children and young people across the world together to collectively attempt to read for 200 Million Minutes!!

Following the huge success of the charity’s 100 Million Minutes Reading Challenge in March 2018, which saw more than 420,000 children and young people collectively read for 100,019,560 minutes, Achievement for All, in association with Pearson, is doubling the target to 200 Million Minutes. For the first time the challenge is open to schools, settings, families, libraries, community groups, businesses and organisations from across the world to help achieve this never before-reached target!

The challenge will end on Children’s Book Day, Tuesday 2nd April 2019, giving children and young people just 26 days to collectively reach this ambitious goal.

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, hopes that through this global challenge, more children will discover a love of reading.

Lindsay Nadin, Director of Primary Learning Services at Pearson, who are providing £10,000 of books to the Challenge winners, said: “We are delighted to be supporting the 200 Million Minutes Reading Challenge this year. At Pearson we work with children, teachers, parents and literacy experts to develop books and resources that spark joy in reading and nurture lifelong readers. This challenge is a fantastic way to get all children and young people reading, and working together to reach an amazing goal."  

Prizes will be awarded to those who achieve the highest average number of reading minutes per child or young person and certificates will be available to the individuals who reach key reading targets throughout the reading challenge.

For further information on the 200 Million Minute Reading Challenge and to register your place, please visit www.200millionminutes.org

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[1]http://www.childwise.co.uk/reports.html#monitorreport