Norfolk Libraries follow World Book Day by joining challenge to read for 100 million minutes

01 March 2018

Libraries across Norfolk have signed up to a national reading campaign to eradicate illiteracy and build a brighter future for children and young people.

Today (1 March) is World Book Day, where school children across the country are encouraged by their schools to dress as their favourite characters and discuss their most-loved reads. In Norfolk, the weather has put a dampener on the celebrations as many schools remain closed due to poor weather conditions.

But there's plenty of reading still to be done, through the month-long 100 Million Minutes Challenge which will run throughout March and takes reading to a whole new level. Libraries, schools, colleges, community groups and families across the country will try to clock up time spent reading over the coming month.

Norfolk libraries are joining in the national project and will be logging the amount of minutes spent reading at the 47 branches, including during their regular activities such as baby bounce and rhyme time.

Councillor Margaret Dewsbury, Chairman of Norfolk County Council’s Communities Committee, said: “The aim is that, across the UK, young people will be involved in reading for a collective 100 million minutes in March. Our library service is encouraging people to join the challenge and will also log minutes spent reading as part of their regular weekly activities. Reading has proven health benefits for everyone and this is a great way to get involved.

"Our libraries have a fantastic selection of books that can be borrowed for free and the service is also completely free to join. There is also a wide selection of e-books available too which can be downloaded via our Libby app.”

The campaign is run by the charity, Achievement for All, which works in partnership with schools and communities to improve outcomes for all children and young people vulnerable to underachievement.

Professor Sonia Blandford, CEO of Achievement for All, said: “Across the UK, up to two in five children in disadvantaged communities have difficulties with literacy and we know that introducing all children and young people to the habit of reading in everyday life can improve communication skills and drastically brighten future prospects. If just 10 minutes of reading a day can have a huge impact on a child’s development, imagine what 100 million minutes can achieve!”

Last year, more than 125,000 primary school children participated in the 10 Million Minutes Challenge, reading for over 15 million minutes in total. With all children and young people able to get involved in the 2018 event, this next challenge is due to be bigger and better.

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