Pupils from Valley Road Academy have helped Sunderland Library Services launch an incredible global reading challenge.

The children took part in a storytelling session at the City Library on World Book Day (March 7th) to help kick off the 200 Million Minutes Reading Challenge. This challenge aims to get kids around the world to read for a collective 200 million minutes.

The challenge – which will extend over 26 days – is part of a global campaign to slash illiteracy and create a better future for children and young people.

The 200 Million Minutes Reading Challenge – which will continue until Children’s Book Day on 2nd April – will see Sunderland kids joining forces with schools, families, community groups and businesses all over the globe in order to surpass the record-breaking target.

Last year, over 420,000 children and young people in the UK took part in a 100-million- minute challenge, reading for 100,019,560 minutes in total.

In addition to the City Library, Houghton Library and Washington Library held storytelling sessions to mark World Book Day and help launch the 200 Million Minutes Reading Challenge.

Children are also being encouraged to pop into their local libraries to pick up a £1 World  Book Day book token.

These tokens – which are valid until Sunday 31st March – can be swapped for one of 12 special World Book Day books. Alternatively, the tokens can be used to get £1 off children’s books or audiobooks at participating bookshops.

The list of the 12 World Book Day titles can be accessed at https://www.worldbookday.com/books/.

Sunderland City Council’s cabinet member for communities and culture, Cllr John Kelly, said, “We’re delighted that children from Valley Road Academy have helped launch the 200 Million Minutes Reading Challenge on World Book Day.”

“Books can bring so much pleasure to children of all ages so challenges like this and events like World Book Day are a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the joy of reading.”

“Reading is so important for children in all sorts of ways. Just 10 minutes reading a day makes a huge impact to a child’s development and anything that helps them to develop a love of reading has to be a good thing.”

“I have no doubt that children, families, schools and community groups across Sunderland will rise to the challenge and I know libraries are going to be counting up their reading minutes every week to see how they’re doing.”

For more information about Sunderland Library Services, please go to https://www.sunderland.gov.uk/libraries.

(Featured image courtesy of San Jose Public Library, from Flickr Creative Commons)

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