A new reading competition that aims to spark children's imagination and encourage them to become avid readers was announced today (February 7th) by the schools minister Nick Gibb.
The competition will begin in the autumn term this year and is part of the Department for Education's (DfE) drive to improve the standards of literacy across schools in England.
All children aged between seven and 12 will be able to enter and events organised by schools will then lead to prizes at local, regional and national level.
DfE ministers believe that the competition will increase the attractiveness of reading.
A heavy peer-to-peer aspect will aim to get children creating their own competition titles. It is also hoped that the competition will foster a link between school and home life, encouraging parents to get involved and support their children's reading.
Announcing the competition, Mr Gibb said: "I am passionate about wanting all children to develop a real love of books and of reading for pleasure.
"Children should always have a book on the go. The difference in achievement between children who read for half an hour a day in their spare time and those who do not is huge - as much as a year's education by the time they are 15."
He added that the new national competition was intended to use a competitive incentive to encourage reluctant readers to enter the realm of literature.
The DfE has invited bids from organisations that will design and co-deliver the programme and an announcement will be made in the near future.
Government figures show that ten per cent of boys finish primary school with a reading age no higher than that of a seven-year-old, while 15 per cent of seven-year-olds and 16 per cent of 11-year-olds do not reach the reading level expected of them.
Posted by Tim Colman