Students from St. John Boste Primary School are rejoicing as they have been declared the champions of the 2023 Summer Reading Challenge.
Each year the national challenge motivates over 700,000 children of all abilities to get reading over the summer holidays, and this year St John Boste Primary in Washington has been presented with an award for having the highest percentage of pupils in Sunderland completing the challenge.
Author, Storyteller and creative lead at Seven Stories in Newcastle, Richard O Neill, visited the school during their special celebration assembly to tell the children a story about his childhood and getting the reading bug at four years old.
Richard also inspired the children to continue reading after the challenge, reading them his short poem Callum dunt like readin’ which has recently been included in an Amnesty International anthology.
He said: “It was great to meet the children of St John Boste, who have done a fantastic job in the Summer Reading Challenge. Instilling a love of reading in children is so important as it helps them develop their imagination, expand their vocabulary, and better understand the world around them so it’s wonderful to see so many children get involved this year.”
The Summer Reading Challenge 2023 School Achievement Certificate was presented to the school by Richard O Neill, Sunderland City Council’s Cabinet Member for Vibrant City Councillor John Price, and representatives from Sunderland Libraries Services.
Councillor John Price, Portfolio Holder for Vibrant City at Sunderland City Council, said: “I’m delighted to be celebrating reading with the children at St John Boste Primary. Winning the school Achievement Certificate is fantastic and the school can feel very proud that they had so many pupils getting involved and completing the challenge.
“We know that the more children read, the better they become at it and the more confident they are with reading by themselves. The annual Summer Reading Challenge is a fantastic way to keep children engaged with reading books while they’re away from school over the summer holidays, but it also helps children take interest in reading for pleasure, which they can continue to enjoy for the rest of their lives.”
The annual Summer Reading Challenge is created by the Reading Agency and delivered in partnership with Public Libraries to get more children aged 4-11 reading for enjoyment.
Over the summer, children were invited to take part in the challenge, with events and free materials from Sunderland Libraries, and online via the challenge website.
Denise Cushlow, headteacher at St John Boste said: “Reading for pleasure is something we encourage in all our children, from listening to stories read by adults to immersing themselves in the pages of a book the children read themselves.
“Books are the gateway to new knowledge, the development of imagination and a wealth of vocabulary. We are so proud that so many of our children took part in this challenge over the summer.”
Find out more about Sunderland Libraries Service at Library Services – Sunderland City Council