ALL eyes are on the trophy at a school that is using the competitive Olympic spirit to inspire a love of books.
So far 45 youngsters at Riders Infants in Leigh Park have collected bronze medals for reading at home 50 times or more since January.
They are on the first step towards silver and gold medals for 90 and 140 home reads respectively – and after that the pupil who clocks up the highest number of books will be crowned champion and win a gold trophy.
Competition is strong, especially among the boys.
Bronze medal winner Peter Blofield, six, said: ‘I was happy to get my medal as I’d worked hard for it.
‘I’ve been reading at home every night, even at weekends which I never did before, because I want to get all the medals and the trophy after that.
‘I feel like I’m taking part in a reading Olympics – even though it’s not a physical challenge, competition is tough and exciting.’
Jem Jeffery, seven, is at level pegging with a girl in his school.
He said: ‘I’m reading more so I can get my next medal before her. Everyone says she’s one of the best readers in the school so I want to beat her!
‘When I was in reception I didn’t read often, but I discovered comics in Year 1 like Tin Tin, Dennis the Menace and The Dandy and I got hooked.
‘Getting my reading medal made me feel extremely proud. I’m definitely going for the trophy now.’
Dylan Davison, six, said: ‘The competition is making me want to read more. I’m enjoying Harry Potter and find I read for longer periods now than I ever thought I would.
‘When I got my medal it felt fantastic – it was like collecting a prize on sports day.’
Head teacher Janet Hayward, who is backing our Read All About It campaign to boost reading across the area, is now seeking community volunteers to read with children whose parents are unable to at the end of the school day.
She said: ‘The impact of our reading challenge has been excellent, especially on the boys who relate to sport and medal winning particularly well.
‘Many of them have changed their attitudes towards reading as a result – we’ve had hesitant readers who are now fluent and much more confident.’
She added: ‘The world around us is changing very fast, especially in the field of technology, but reading isn’t.
‘We want all our pupils to be competent readers by the time they leave.’
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