Enthusiasm of students makes book reading awards a real page turner

Enthusiasm of students makes book reading awards a real page turner

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Thirteen secondary schools from across the region came together at Kent College, Pembury, to celebrate ten years of an innovative reading initiative

Uplands Community College

Originally set up by a small collective of schools as the West Kent Schools Themed Book Awards, the scheme has been renamed the South East Schools Themed Book Awards to reflect the widening geographical area of the schools involved.

Created to challenge and stimulate young readers, it mirrors famous literary book awards in that book groups within each school read the same shortlist of titles and then cast votes for their favourites during a gala night at Kent College’s theatre.

Books are selected to reflect different genres and introduce students to writers they may not be familiar with or normally choose.

Pupils from a broad range of schools – state and independent, grammar and non-selective – shared their enjoyment of reading while award-winning authors Tim Bowler and Sally Gardner were the special guests, speaking individually and then sharing a Q & A session.

Students making film trailers of their favourite books are a unique feature of the event and have become a popular element of the evening. They were shown on a big screen demonstrating the creative talents of the film-makers.

The fancy dress competition equally showcased the flair and imagination of the participants.

Judging fell to AXA representative Cath Brunger, who said: “We are proud to sponsor this inspirational event and to help promote literacy and the joy of reading in our community. The evening was wonderful and it was brilliant to see so many young people engaged.”

The event has also been sponsored since its inception by independent bookseller Caroline Elcombe of Creative Active Reading.

Young Adult category (Years 9-13) Boys Don’t Cry by Malorie Blackman. Teen category (Years 7-9) Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Cranbrook School; Mascalls School; Tunbridge Wells Girls’ Grammar School; Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys; Sackville School; Kent College, Pembury; Weald of Kent Grammar School; Hillview School for Girls; Skinners’ Kent Academy; Beechwood Sacred Heart School; Knole Academy; Uplands Community College and The Skinners’ School.