Winners of reading awards announced at ceremony

BOOKWORMS From left: Ruth Housley, Sophie McKenzie and Jack Smith
BOOKWORMS From left: Ruth Housley, Sophie McKenzie and Jack Smith
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TWO schoolchildren have been named Readers of the Year at an award ceremony.

Readers of the Year in the secondary school year eight and nine category were announced at the ceremony, held at Action Stations in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

Ruth Housley, 13, from Mayfield School and Jack Smith, 13, from Trafalgar School beat 145 other children from 11 schools across the city to scoop the title.

Ruth Housley, female Reader of the Year for secondary schools, said: ​‘I was honoured to win the Portsmouth Book Award’s Reader of the Year 2015.

‘Mrs Groom, the School Librarian, said she was very proud of me as she couldn’t remember the last time a Mayfield pupil had won this award.’

The winning book, chosen by the secondary school pupils who took part, is Split Second by Sophie McKenzie.

Jack Smith, male Reader of the Year, said: ‘I am surprised that I won but ecstatic. I wanted Split Second to be the winning book so meeting Sophie McKenzie was great. It was great fun and I’d like to do it again next year.’

Portsmouth schools have taken part in the initiative, in association with the School Library Service, since 2008.

The Portsmouth Book Award started in 2001 and features sections for picture books judged by year one pupils, a shorter novel judged by year five pupils, and a longer novel judged by year eight and nine pupils.

The Book Award and Reader of the Year competition started in September with students being given a list of 31 books to choose from.

For the secondary school award each book is read by six students and a shortlist of five books is collated in February.

In May the pupils meet to discuss shortlisted books and to vote for their favourite.

Over the past 15 years 39,857 Portsmouth children have taken part in the three categories of the award, completing 180,860 reads to decide on the winning books every year.

The Book Award and Reader of the Year competition is one of the ways the council’s School Library Service promotes reading and excitement around books.