Reading regularly is the equivalent to an extra year of schooling

Reading books regularly is the equivalent to an extra year of schooling for children, the School Minister Nick Gibb has stated.

Speaking ahead of the launch of a new reading competition for schoolchildren, Gibb said that reading a book for just half an hour every day was the equivalent of an extra year of education for a child by the time they reach 15.

The claim came as the Department for Education unveiled plans for a reading competition for schoolchildren in the last three years of primary school and the first year of secondary school.

The competition will be launched in the autumn, and is designed to boost literacy and encourage children who are reluctant readers to pick up a book.

Ministers said they felt the competition would be particularly appealing to boys, many of whom thrive on competing.

'A new national reading competition is designed to give a competitive spur to those reluctant readers who are missing out on the vast world of literature,' said Nick Gibb MP.

'There is a group of children who can read but won't read � the reluctant readers. I hope this competition will inspire all children to read more, but boys especially who are spurred on by a bit of healthy competition.'The competition, for seven to 12 year olds, will be based around who can finish the most books. Prizes will be given out at a local, regional and national level, with children being encouraged to read fiction books in particular.

'Children should always have a book on the go. The difference in achievement between children who read for half an hour a day in their spare time and those who do not is huge,' Mr Gibb added.
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