Children and young people across the UK have read for more than 100 million minutes as part of a month-long reading competition, which has seen international businessman, supermodel and charity supporter David Gandy, on screen star Lennie James and a host of authors and sports teams help to inspire children to read more regularly and understand the possibilities it unlocks.

 

   

The 100 Million Minutes Reading Challenge, from award-winning education charity, Achievement for All, and leading bookseller, Book People, engaged more than 200,000 children with reading while they collectively read for 100,019,560 minutes in schools, early years settings, homes, libraries and community groups throughout the month of March.

Up to £10,000 RRP worth of books from campaign sponsor Book People, and a host of other exciting prizes were available to the settings who clocked the most reading minutes, and the winners have been released today. They include:

Winning category

Setting name

Setting location

 

School and community group winner

 

Rosh Pinah Primary School

 

Edgware, Middlesex

 

School and community group runner-up

 

Miles Coverdale Primary School

 Shepherds Bush, London

 

School and community group runner-up

 

Patcham High School

 

Brighton, East Sussex

 

School and community group runner-up

 

Apex Primary School

 Ilford, London

 

Special school winner

 

 

Castle Business and Enterprise College

 

Walsall, West Midlands

 

Early Years winner

 

Katharine Bruce Community Nursery

 

Kensal Town, London

 

Parent and carer winner

 

 Ashleigh Slogan

 Hackney, London

Sharing her delight in topping the parent and carer leaderboard, Ashleigh Solgun, who took part in the challenge with her two children, said: “We really enjoyed the reading challenge. My daughter is three and can now recognise sight words and knows almost all of her basic phonics! We got used to setting a timer on my phone and were always surprised to see how long we had been reading.

“Reading together has helped us get through a recent bereavement plus help prepare my daughter for pre school and further enhance my son’s enjoyment of books. We plan to donate any prizes to our school as the best thing about books is sharing them with others.”

Offering her words of congratulations to everyone who took part in the initiative, Sarah Walden, Group Buying & Merchandising Director at Book People, who sponsored the challenge said: “We’re thrilled to see that the 100 Million Minutes Reading Challenge has generated so much interest and engagement in reading.

“To see such dedication across the country is truly remarkable and we are proud to award £10,000 RRP worth of books to the winning settings. We hope that these books continue to inspire and captivate these budding readers. Well done to everyone who took part in this incredible initiative.”

Functional illiteracy costs the UK economy £36 billion a year, with one in four working-age adults struggling to read and write, according to the latest report from the World Literacy Foundation. Research from the Fair Education Alliance also revealed that that up to three in five children from socio-economic disadvantage leave primary school in this country without achieving the expected standard of reading, with the effect on their self-confidence and job opportunities long-lasting.

As part of the 100 Million Minutes Reading Challenge, exciting events and activities including literacy power hours, reading therapy pets, library read-alongs, teddy bear reading picnics and a Q&A with The Walking Dead star Lennie James, have been taking place across the month. The initiative was supported by a host of stars, authors, sports teams, organisations and charities– with many even contributing reading minutes towards the total themselves through events and activities in schools and settings across the country.

Speaking about social mobility and the importance of literacy, David Gandy, international businessman, supermodel and Achievement for All Ambassador, said: “No one should have their dreams and aspirations confined because of their background or circumstances. Yet, we face a stark problem in this country where children and young people, particularly those that are vulnerable to underachievement, face futures with limited opportunities.

“It can be easy to judge a book by its cover, but having good literacy skills and being able to express yourself opens doors, unlocks your imagination and helps you to realise your ambitions no matter who you are or where you come from.”

Authors Aloud UK, who specialise in arranging author visits to schools and settings to help children access the magic of books, contributed 165,000 reading minutes through their sessions in schools across the country. Meanwhile, West Ham United Foundation also clocked more than 13,000 minutes and are running a celebration takeover event for the local primary school that read the most minutes.

Director of Authors Aloud UK, Annie Everall OBE, said: “We are passionate about encouraging children to read. We want them to experience the magic of books and to discover the joy of reading for pleasure. We also want to give them opportunities to meet their favourite authors, illustrators and poets and to discover new ones. The Achievement for All 100 Million Minutes Reading Challenge has been a wonderful way of engaging children, libraries, families and many other settings across the UK in reading.”

Professor Sonia Blandford, CEO at Achievement for All – the charity that heads-up the initiative and works to improve outcomes for all children and young people who are vulnerable to underachievement said: "We are hugely grateful for all of the support and engagement that our reading challenge has received. Together, with individuals, organisations, parents, carers, schools, early years settings and community groups across the UK, we’ve helped to inspire a generation of lifetime readers and whilst the challenge has come to a close for this year, the magic of books is only just beginning.

“Well done to everyone who took part in the challenge and congratulations to our winners who have inspired us with their fantastic efforts! Reaching 100 million minutes is an incredible achievement - it’s hard to even imagine how many worlds and possibilities have been unlocked! I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our sponsors and supporters for helping to make this year’s challenge the biggest and best one yet!” 

The 100 Million Minutes Reading Challenge ran from World Book Day (Thursday 1st March) to Thursday 29th March and was supported by a host of organisations including West Ham United Foundation, Parentkind, Albion in the Community, Teach First, Reading Chest, BoogieMites, Society of Chief Librarians (SCL), Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians (ASCEL), Mindful Life Journeys, Skoolbo and NAHT Edge. 

For more information about the 100 Million Minutes Reading Challenge, please visit: www.100millionminutes.org.