On Tuesday (6 June), the team from The Cathedral School, comprising Gwen, Maddie, Iris and Sara, placed 18th out of 22 teams from across the UK in the National Reading Champions Quiz final. Held by the National Literacy Trust to celebrate readers and book lovers, and running for three consecutive years, this is the only national reading quiz dedicated entirely to fiction books. It is made possibly be generous funding support from the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS).
Schools from across the country gathered at the prestigious Goldsmiths’ Hall in London to celebrate their star readers, in the culmination of a project which champions a culture of reading and reading for enjoyment throughout their schools. Throughout March, almost 500 UK teams competed across over 22 heats, meaning that the team from The Cathedral School placed 18th out of 2,000 students who took part in the quiz. To mark their achievement, the team was sent home with a regional trophy and certificates for each team member.
Research from the National Literacy Trust shows that reading for pleasure is at its lowest level since 2005, meaning that projects celebrating reading are more important than . Reading for pleasure is linked to educational attainment and mental wellbeing, but at present fewer than 1 in 2 children say they enjoy reading. Owning your own books is also key to reading for enjoyment, which is why every quiz finalist was sent home with a selection of free books, thanks to generous donations from Pan Macmillan, Peters Ltd, Scholastic, Barrington Stoke, Firefly Press and Penguin Random House. The students were able to choose from a diverse range of titles at the bookstall set up at the venue, empowering their love of reading by giving them the opportunity to pick books that really speak to their passions and interests.
Eminent children’s authors joined the event in person and held an insightful Q&A panel, including Anthony McGowan, Benjamin Dean, Jasbinder Bilan, and Jennifer Killick. They talked about their inspiring reading experiences and celebrated the reading knowledge of the finalists. The competition was hosted by engaging quizmaster, performer, and educator Mr Dilly, who provided an entertaining, as well as educational, experience for teams taking part.
Benjamin Dean commented: “It has been the best day surrounded by kids who love to read – reading is magic and you could really feel that being celebrated throughout the quiz.”
Jasbinder Bilan added: “There was a real excitement and buzz in the room as the quiz took place, and I found it really inspiring to see so many children in one space who really love reading. I was honoured to be part of this very special day.”
Henrietta Roberts, Senior Project Manager at the National Literacy Trust, said: “It has been a wonderful occasion celebrating this year’s finalists, as well as the librarians who support them on their reading journeys and the authors who inspire them. I am in awe of these young people and their reading knowledge and, with fewer than 1 in 2 children enjoying reading, I am so glad that the quiz is helping promote reading for pleasure. This event is very special in the way that it celebrates keen readers, validates their knowledge and gives them time to truly shine.
“The quiz is an important part of the National Literacy Trust’s mission to encourage reading for pleasure, from showing that reading is for everyone, to getting books into the hands of children. We know that children who read regularly and have books at home are six times more likely to read above the expected level for their age, which means they are more likely to succeed at school, have more job opportunities when they grow up, and have better mental wellbeing. We look forward to welcoming many more keen readers to the quiz in the future, whether they are defending a regional title or having a go for the first time.”
Barbara Hayes, CEO at ALCS, said: “ALCS is so proud to sponsor the National Reading Champions Quiz for another year. We have been blown away by the knowledge and enthusiasm of all the students who took part. The scale of the competition and the amazing job it does to inspire a love of reading in so many young people is a credit to the National Literacy Trust. As an organisation that champions authors, we are aware of the immense value that literacy provides to wider society. The authors, journalists and scriptwriters of tomorrow are the children who are inspired to pick up a book today. Many congratulations to The Cathedral School and all the students who participated!”
About the National Literacy Trust
Our mission is to improve the reading, writing, speaking and listening skills of those who need it most, giving them the best possible chance of success in school, work and life. We run Literacy Hubs and campaigns in communities where low levels of literacy and social mobility are seriously impacting people’s lives. We support schools and early years settings to deliver outstanding literacy provision, and we campaign to make literacy a priority for politicians, businesses and parents.
Our research and analysis make us the leading authority on literacy and drive our interventions. Literacy is a vital element of action against poverty and our work changes children and young people’s life stories. Our new site Words for Life provides simple, fun and educational activities for children and young people aged 0-24 to support learning at home and help them feel more confident.
About the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS)
The Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) is a not-for-profit organisation started by writers for the benefit of all types of writers. Owned by its members, ALCS collects money due for secondary uses of writers’ work. It is designed to support authors and their creativity; ensure they receive fair payment and see their rights are respected. It promotes and teaches the principles of copyright and campaigns for a fair deal. It represents over 200,000 members, and since 1977 has paid over £650million to writers.