Enthusiastic young readers from the Community College Whitstable have helped the county smash a one million-minute reading target in its first term.
Nearly 150 pupils at the college are taking part in the Buster’s Book Club scheme which aims to encourage youngsters to get engaged with reading at home.
Along with a host of other schools across Kent making an extra effort to hit the books, the 148 CCW students managed to notch up some 19,000 minutes between September and December last year.
Milly Wonford, English teacher at the non-selective school, said: “We are so excited as a school to have been able to help towards this goal.
“Considering we are only piloting this with Year 7 and have only been involved since September, this is an incredible achievement for us.”
Designed to try and making reading ‘cool’, and involve both the pupils and their parents, those taking part are given a series of challenges to complete through the year, including inter-class and inter-school events. Winning classes can scoop prizes including books, a visit from a celebrity storyteller, and tickets to attractions such as Planet Ice skating rink in Gillingham.
Some 90 schools across Kent are signed up to the initiative, including 20 from the Canterbury district, with more than 26,000 children involved countywide.
While the majority are primary schools, the Community College is one of only two secondary schools involved.
According to research by the National Literacy Trust, nearly four in 10 of children who never read outside of class read below the level that is expected for their age.
Simon Dolby, chief executive of the KM Charity Team which runs Buster’s Book Club, explained: “Literacy is the foundation that all educational attainment is based on.
“Some children are leaving primary school without the level of literacy that they need, and that is why the Community College decided to get involved, to encourage reading at secondary level.
“The number of minutes the children have read is a based on how much they have read every Wednesday. In reality, they may have read seven times that number of minutes this term. It’s fantastic that all participants have collectively met this one million-minute target.”
Buster’s Book Club is supported by organisations including Kent Community Foundation, Golding Vision (part of Golding Homes), Orbit, Three R’s Teacher Recruitment, and Kent County Council.
To find out how your school can join the scheme, visit www.bustersbookclub.co.uk