Matlock school’s pupils read 3,260 books in a year

David Allen from Twiggs presents the Twiggs Trophy to Year 8 students.
David Allen from Twiggs presents the Twiggs Trophy to Year 8 students.

Students at Highfields School, Matlock, have read an amazing 3,260 books since September as part of a year-long reading challenge.

Supported by local steel company, Twiggs, the reading challenge introduces students to new books and authors and improves their vocabulary skills. Recent research across 840 secondary schools by the Oxford

University Press revealed that 43% of eleven-year-olds in the UK have limited vocabulary and simply do not know enough words to fulfil their potential at secondary school.

“Reading exposes students to new words. It is a fantastic way to increase vocabulary, and that’s why we place so much importance on reading at Highfields, especially for younger students,” said deputy head teacher Peter Cole. “If students are literally stuck for words it limits their ability to understand, to learn and to be creative. The word gap is something we’re determined to address – and encouraging reading is one of the best ways to do this.”

Students in the two classes that read the most books were rewarded with an afternoon of cakes, drinks and games in the school library and were presented with the Twigg’s Trophy by David Allen, director of Twiggs.

“We are delighted to support the initiative at Highfields to get students reading,” said Mr Allen. “Good literacy skills are essential in today’s job market. Poor reading and writing skills will hold you back at every stage of your life – and especially when it comes to finding employment. Today’s employers look for employees who can communicate – speaking and listening are critical. And reading is where it all starts.”

“We are so grateful for the support we’ve received from Twiggs,” said school librarian, Louise Robinson.

“Competing for a trophy made the challenge much more exciting for the students, and thanks to funding from Twiggs we’ve been able to stock the library with some fantastic new books that have been extremely popular.

National headlines might suggest that young people don’t read books for pleasure, but at Highfields that is absolutely not the case!”