Pupils at Holy Trinity & St John’s School in Margate have been battling since September in a race to become the first to read one million words in a challenge set by the staff.
The school began running a series of competitions to enthuse and engage reading habits throughout the school; one of which was to be the first to read and quiz on books that would total one million words through their Accelerated Reader and myON reading system. Prizes were a Kindle Fire Tablet, tickets to see a show at the Marlowe Theatre or a bundle of books of their choice for the first three successful pupils.
Children at the school have since been increasing their reading habits by grabbing and engaging in books both in school and at home, something which the staff in school have made a priority over the past few years.
Headteacher Rob Garratt said: “Reading is an essential life skill, it is a passport to unknown adventures. By reading regularly, children can improve their cognitive abilities, language skills and creativity. It is essential for parents and schools to encourage a love of reading in children from a young age as this brings lifelong benefits.”
One pupil, with a great love for reading, took-up the challenge in September and reached his million-word target over the February half-term holiday. Claude in Kingfisher Class, Year 4, has now read and quizzed on a staggering 189 books within his reading level and his total now exceeds over the one-million-word target.
Claude was a little slow on the uptake of the challenge at first, but when he realised that the font size and the amount of words on a page made a difference, he set himself the challenge to find just the right books that interested him to increase his word count.
He said: “I really love to read because stories take you to a new world each time you read them. My mum and dad inspired me to read a lot and always supported me with my reading.”
As a result of Claude becoming the first pupil to reach his million words, he opted for the Kindle Fire Tablet for his prize and he couldn’t be more thrilled!
He said: “It feels amazing to be the first pupil to win. When I heard about the competition, I thought that I would never be able to read a million words. I feel so very proud of myself. My advice for other pupils to complete the challenge is… If you think you can do it, then you can do it, just believe in yourself!”
Claude was closely followed by Vincent in Kestrel Class, Year 5 to become the second pupil to reach his million-word target. When his teacher informed him that reading all seven Harry Potter books would take him beyond his million words; Vincent, who had already begun reading the J.K Rowling phenomenon, made finishing the series his ultimate goal. He opted for the theatre tickets and is off to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the Marlowe Theatre in May.
Other reading competitions in school result in pupils receiving £10 book vouchers each term for reading the most books and quizzing with no less than 100% pass rate and the school has already given out prizes worth more than £500.
The race for the third successful word millionaire is still in the sights of several pupils who are in close contention for the final big reward.