Brilliant young bookworms from across Kent were feted after smashing reading records through a scheme lauded as “the greatest in the world”.
Members of Buster’s Book Club, the KM Charity Team’s home reading scheme, have read for 3.6 million minutes between them already since the start of the year – giving them the honorary title of reading millionaires three times over.
Some 101 schools in Kent and East Sussex have signed up for the scheme this year – which works out at an average of 594 hours of reading per school in total, or 54 hours per week.
Children from Canterbury Primary School were invited to the city library to meet some of the supporters of the scheme and of course Buster Bug himself, who was dancing with excitement at their achievements.
Michael Head, head of the Crown Charitable Fund, which supports Buster’s Book Club, said he thought it was “the greatest reading charity in the whole world.”
“I think it is stunning – the way it works and the way it excites the children,” he said.
“It’s particularly good at encouraging young boys who are not enthusiastic about reading, but are competitive and want to join in.”
KM Charity Team chief executive Simon Dolby said the children had done “fantastically well”.
Buster’s Book Club encourages children by turning reading into a competition, where all the classes within a school compete with each other to see who can read the most.
Each child has a target of a certain number of minutes each week which they need to spend reading at home, either alone or with a family member. Each school has a trophy to give out to one class each week – usually the best or most improved – and there are monthly prizes for the top classes across the whole scheme, such as vouchers or visits from storytellers.
Peter Scutt, centre manager of Whitefriars, another supporter, said: “I’m really happy to be here today.
“Reading is so crucial and it’s great to get children off to a young start, whether they’re reading at home with their parents, at school, or even in the shopping centre – we have reading trees this year where they can come along and pick books and take them home to read.
“Anything that encourages this is so important – for the children growing up and for our society – and anything that we can do to help is marvellous.”
Buster’s Book Club is supported by Orbit, Golding Vision (part of Golding Homes), Leeds Castle, Kent County Council, Medway Council, Three R’s Teacher Recruitment, Whitefriars, Specsavers, Eurostar, Little Cheyne Court, Kent Community Foundation, Planet Ice, Diggerland, Hornby, and Wildwood.
To sign up or for more information, visit www.bustersbookclub.co.uk or call Kathy Beel or Charlotte Hayes on 0844 264 0291