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Winner announced in Jonathan Stroud School Review Project

15 January 2014 at 14:11

We're delighted to announce the winning school in the prize draw held last term as part of our project to collect reviews of Jonathan Stroud’s latest teen novel, The Screaming Staircase.

The winning review comes from Waldegrave School for Girls,Twickenham. One of the many reviews this school sent us was drawn at random from a heavy postbag of entries to win a free visit from Jonathan Stroud during the current academic year.

Clare Hetherington the school's Readathon organiser has been responsible for raising over £20,000 by running Readathon’s every year for nearly 15 years. As a loyal and committed bunch and on behalf of Readathon – thank you!

The Winning Review

The author of the winning review was Stella (11), and here's her brilliantly descriptive review:

“Unearthly, eerie and inexplicable are some of the words that may be going through your head as you gaze down at the terrifying cover of The Screaming Staircase.

Lucy Carlyle and Antony Lockwood, two young teenage ghostbusters are hunting for ghosts in a spooky and decrepit old house when a loud clatter comes from the old crooked stair case. But only one of the daring duo hears this strange, astonishing and petrifying noise. By this Lucy is reminded of the incident that occurred with the last residents and lead to a sad demise.

In this, the third book from Jonathan Stroud, and the first in a new mystery series. The two main characters Lucy, a focussed and determined young girl and Lockwood (Antony) continue together to undercover a new mystery. The contrast between the two works well and injects the story with humour and human interest. Stroud’s style is pacey, compelling and never doubts the readers intelligence and is so vivid that at times the reader struggles to distinguish between fantasy and reality.

This is a brilliant book and would be perfect for a lover of mysteries in year 7/8. It may even spook you into believing that ghosts really do live amongst us!”

If you haven't yet read Jonathan Stroud’s The Screaming Staircase, we bet Stella’s
review will make you want to read it now! Find out all about Jonathan Stroud
and other books in the series on his official author website.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO TAKE PART IN FUTURE PROJECTS LIKE THIS? Our friends in publishing often ask us to send out free review copies of extracts and samples of new books to schools who run Readathon sponsored reads. If you are a participating Readathon school and would like your school to be considered for one of our future review projects, please email your contact name, email address, school name and school postcode with "Readathon Review Club Application" in the subject line to the Readathon office.

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Winner Announced in Malorie Blackman Review Project

17 September 2013 at 12:15

Children's Laureate Malorie BlackmanWe're delighted to announce the winning school in the prize draw held last term as part of our project to collect reviews of Malorie Blackman's latest teen novel, Noble Conflict.

The winner is The Helena Romanes School and Sixth Form Centre in Dunmow, Essex. One of the many reviews this school sent us was drawn at random from a heavy postbag of entries to win a free school visit during the current academic year from the Children's Laureate.

The school's Readathon organiser was Learning Zone Manager Mrs Turner, who did a great job of spreading enthusiasm about Noble Conflict within school, and also read the book herself during the summer holidays, as did her own daughter.We think Mrs Turner is a great ambassador for reading!

Cover of teen novel Noble Conflict by Malorie BlackmanThe Winning Review

The author of the winning review was Sarah (12), and here's her eloquent review:

"Full of apocalyptic action, this ominous book is an explosive thriller. Kaspar Wilding has joined the Guardians, an organisation dedicated to fighting insurrection. As always, Malorie Blackman's work flows effortlessly with flashbacks placed strategically throughout. As Kaspar fights the subversive terrorists, the reader also ventures on a journey exploring literary dynamite. In my opinion, the book is a beacon of success for all aspiring novelists."

If you haven't yet read Malorie Blackman's Noble Conflict, we bet Sarah's review will make you want to read it now! Find out all about the Children's Laureate on her official author website.

LIKE TO TAKE PART IN FUTURE PROJECTS LIKE THIS? Our friends in publishing often ask us to send out free review copies of extracts and samples of new books to schools who run Readathon sponsored reads. If you would like your school to be considered for one a future review project, please email your contact name, email address, school name and school postcode with "Readathon Review Club Application" in the subject line to the Readathon office.

Tags: Malorie Blackman | Noble Conflict | Children's Laureate | school visit | book reviews | prize draw

Posted in authors | school visits | secondary school | No Comments

Author Teacher Joins Forces With Readathon

20 November 2012 at 12:43

Sophie E Tallis outside Read for Good's Nailsworth officeWhen we discovered via our local high street bookseller,The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop, that a teacher at one of the schools closest to our office had just published her first book, we had to meet her! 

And so it was that Sophie E Tallis, author of fantasy novel White Mountain, came to visit us during the half term break, fitting us in between a whirlwind tour of local bookshops, where she is in demand for book-signing events.

Sophie is delighted to be associated with Readathon, being an avid reader who has just installed the twelfth bookcase in her home! She is currently planning a Readathon sponsored read for the pre-prep division of Beaudesert Park.

Reading was one of Sophie's favourite childhood pastimes. She especially loved The Hobbit, Alice In Wonderland, Heidi, Robinson Crusoe and the complete works of Beatrix Potter. She enjoyed writing and drawing from the age of five and always wanted to become an author.

"When at secondary school I received a long, personal reply to a fan letter that I'd written to the author Lynda La Plante, I realised that authors were real people too," recalls Sophie. "So I knew that my dream of becoming a writer could come true!"

And now it has, with the publication of her debut novel White MountainSuitable for readers aged 9 to adult, this fantasy tale was inspired by Sophie's gap year travels in New Zealand and by myths and legends from around the world, especially those from Tibet and Sumeria. Her book also cleverly blends wizards, witches and dragons with the modern real world.

While the story is illustrated with Sophie's intricate drawings, the prose is also clearly the work of someone with an artist's eye, being characterised by vivid, almost three-dimensional descriptions of ithe story's spectacular settings.

Our office copy of White Mountain is now dog-eared from being passed around our team, and the book has also gone down well at Sophie's school, where the children have enjoyed finding out at first hand what it's like to be an author.  

"There's no greater buzz than reading your own book to a child and seeing them immersed in the story," says Sophie, who worked at an inner-city school in a deprived area before joining Beaudesert Park, a coeducational prep school.

White Mountain, published by Safkhet Publishing, is now available from high street bookshops, including The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop and other good bookshops everywhere.

Tags: Sophie E Tallis | Beaudesert Park | Nailsworth | Yellow-Lighted Bookshop | Safkhet Publishing | Read for Good

Posted in prep school | authors | 1 Comments »

Same Book Wins Both Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Medals

20 June 2012 at 11:16

Cover of A Monster Calls by Patrick NessLogo for CILIP Awards schemeCongratulations to the winner of the 2012 CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Book Awards - and we do mean "winner" rather than "winners" because the same book has scooped both prizes, for the first time in this hugely prestigious award scheme's 75 years: "A Monster Calls" written by Patrick Ness (who won last year too!) and illustrated by Jim Kay.

Did those schools shadowing the awards anticipate this historic outcome? Please feel free to send us your views!

Tags: 2012 | book awards | CILIP | Carnegie | Jim Kay | Kate Greenaway | Patrick Ness |

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Guest Impressed in Northern Ireland

20 June 2012 at 09:41

Brough Girling and Daniel Blythe with staff and pupils of St Patrick's Grammar School, DownpatrickReadathon founder Brough Girling visited a truly superb school in Northern Ireland last week and treated the pupils to a visit from multi-talented author Daniel Blythe.

"St Patrick's Grammar School in Downpatrick has donated a phenomenal amount to Readathon over the years and we wanted to acknowledge the support of both their staff and their pupils with a celebration," said Brough. 

Daniel Blythe filled the children's heads with fast-paced tales, while Brough filled the teachers' stomachs with cake!

Rory, a Year 8 pupil, thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon: ‘We read the first chapter of ‘Shadow Runners’ in class before Daniel came and it seems really good. Now that I have my own signed copy, I can’t wait to read it over the summer!’

Gina Savage, Head of English at the school enthused: "Reading for pleasure is very much embedded in the culture of the St Patrick’s. All junior pupils have time in their weekly timetabled classes dedicated to this pastime. It encourages the boys to see reading as a leisure activity – something on the same level as football or soccer - something that is not just educational but also enjoyable."

Brough was especially impressed that each year St Patrick’s trains twenty Year 13 students to work as Reading Partners and Reading Champions in local primary schools to promote positive reading habits and improve literacy with the children in the community. "This is a fabulously creative investment," he said.

Pictured here are author Daniel Blythe (seated centre), Readathon founder Brough Girling (far left), Vice Principal Ray McConville, Head of English Gina Savage, with St Patrick's pupils Eoin, Aidan and Joseph.

Tags: Downpatrick | St Patrick's Grammar School

Posted in benefits of reading for pleasure | authors | school visits | Readathon sponsored read | secondary school | school success stories | Northern Ireland | No Comments

Roald Dahl voted children's favourite author

13 March 2012 at 10:02

Roald Dahl portrait by Quentin BlakeReadathon's former Chairman Roald Dahl has been voted favourite children's author in a survey by the Teachit Primary website. Joint second were current Children's Laureate Julia Donaldson and JK Rowling. Julia Donaldson's "The Gruffalo" was voted best children's book.

All of these authors feature frequently on the lists of books chosen by primary school children for their Readathon sponsored read. Some especially prolific readers have even volunteered to read all of Roald Dahl's children's books or the complete Harry Potter series.

But Readathon participants are not obliged to read on this scale. Our sponsored reading scheme - the only UK national sponsored reading event - is designed to be accessible to readers of all ranges of ability. 

"With Readathon, each child chooses their own reading material," explains Brough Girling, Readathon founder. "For some children, especially struggling or reluctant readers, completing just one book of any kind will be a real achievement. But the most important thing about Readathon is that it makes them realise that reading is fun. This encourages them to read for pleasure, a habit proven to provide substantial lifelong benefits."

Tags: primary school | reading | reluctant readers | struggling readers

Posted in benefits of reading for pleasure | authors | Readathon sponsored read | primary school | No Comments

Wimps Beat Wizards & Spies - Official!

02 March 2012 at 11:48

Blue Peter logoJeff Kinney's Diary of A Wimpy Kid has been awarded Blue Peter Best Children's Book of the Last 10 Years. Children were asked to vote for titles in a shortlist of the decade's ten bestselling children's books, which included stories about Hogwarts wizard Harry Potter by J K Rowling and the tale of the young James Bond by Charlie Higson.

For the full story, please click here.

Posted in authors | awards | No Comments

Readathon team meets Julia Donaldson at Cheltenham Festival

10 October 2011 at 09:59

Julia Donaldson, Children's Laureate and author of The GruffaloOn Friday our office team enjoyed a day out at the nearby Cheltenham Festival of Literature 2011 to attend Children's Laureate Julia Donaldson's fabulous Singalong event.

Accompanied by her husband on the guitar, she engaged 600 schoolchildren in her lively songs and stories. Her sister and great-nieces joined the cast, along with lots of children from the audience, together acting out favourites such as "The Stick Man" and "The Gruffalo", who made a special guest appearance in person!  

After the event, we enjoyed chatting to Julia to find out more about her work.  Did you know she started her career as a children's songwriter? She was equally interested in hearing the latest news from Readathon, of which she is a great advocate.

"Inspiring children to read is the greatest gift you can give them", she says.

She is also keen on our new Readwell programme, which takes books and storytellers into children's hospitals, not least because her guitar-playing husband Malcolm is a paediatrician.

An interview given by Julia later that afternoon is now available to see here.  Her next mission is to collect her MBE later this week, awarded in the Queen's Birthday Honours, a few days after she was made Children's Laureate!

Tags: Julia Donaldson | Children's Laureate | The Gruffalo | The Stick Man | Julia Donaldson | Children's Laureate | The Gruffalo | The Stick Man

Posted in Cheltenham Festival of Literature | authors | No Comments

Readathon founder launches Hawkesbury Primary School's sponsored read

27 September 2011 at 12:47

Brough Girling launches Readathon at Hawkesbury Primary SchoolHawkesbury Primary School in South Gloucestershire enjoyed a memorable launch for its recent Readathon with a visit from the charity’s founder and children’s author, Brough Girling.

Brough spent time in each classroom, reading stories, telling jokes and answering their questions about what it’s like to write books.  

In assembly, Brough entertained staff and children alike with anecdotes about his friend Roald Dahl, Readathon’s first chairman. The children were particularly intrigued by Dahl’s boyhood encounter with Beatrix Potter.

“The free books from Readathon are especially welcome as we are working hard to expand and modernize our Infant and Junior Libraries in the face of substantial budget cuts,” says Mrs Louise Lewis, Head Teacher.

“We are also keen to demonstrate to our pupils that reading and writing are lifelong pleasures of equal interest and value to boys and girls, so a visit by a male author was really constructive. We love supporting children’s charities too.

“I recommend Readathon to any school that wants to enthuse their pupils about reading, to build their library stocks and to find a different way of raising money for charity. With Readathon, everybody wins.”

Brough Girling also enjoyed his visit.

“What a lovely village school!” he remarked.

“The wonderful thing about schools and young people, is that even in today’s economic climate, they are still eager to raise money for those less fortunate than themselves,” he says. 

Tags: Readathon | primary school | reading | boys reading | sponsored read

Posted in free books | authors | school visits | Readathon sponsored read | No Comments

Julia Donaldson loves Readathon

09 August 2011 at 11:27

Children's Laureate Julia Donaldson

Julia Donaldson, children's author and the current Children's Laureate, loves Readathon and says about it:

"Inspiring children to read is one of the greatest gifts you can give them.  I'd recommend Readathon to anyone."

Tags: Julia Donaldson | Children's Laureate

Posted in benefits of reading for pleasure | authors | No Comments