A Matlock steel company has rewarded school students who topped a reading challenge which saw 3,260 books completed in the last year.
Lower school students at Highfields School, on Starkholmes Road, ran the reading challenge starting in September 2017.
On their return to school this week, sponsor Twiggs treated the two winning classes to an afternoon of cakes, drinks and games in the school library, and a trophy presented by director David Allen.
He said: “We are delighted to support the initiative to get students reading. 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.”
He added: “Employers look for those who can communicate. Speaking and listening are critical, and reading is where it all starts.”
The reading challenge is intended to introduce students to new books and authors and improve their vocabulary.
Recent research across 840 secondary schools by the Oxford University Press revealed that 43 press of 11-year-olds in the UK have limited vocabulary and simply do not know enough words to fulfil their potential at secondary school.
Highfields deputy headteacher Peter Cole said: “Reading exposes students to new words and so is a fantastic way to increase vocabulary. That’s why we place so much importance on reading, especially for younger students.
“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.”
Librarian Louise Robinson added: “We are so grateful for the support from Twiggs. Competing for a trophy made the challenge much more exciting, and thanks to funding from Twiggs we’ve been able to stock the library with some fantastic new books.
“Headlines might suggest young people don’t read for pleasure, but at Highfields that is absolutely not the case.”