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36,000 schoolchildren take part in Manchester’s first mass Readathon

36,000 children in more than 100 schools across Manchester are set to join forces this month for the city’s first-ever mass Readathon, which will also bring the power of stories to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.

The Manchester City Readathon is running for two weeks from Monday 17 June to Friday 28 June and will culminate in a citywide DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) on the last day at 2pm that is open to community groups and businesses too. 

The event, one of the first of its kind in the country, is being organised by Read Manchester – the reading campaign from Manchester City Council and the National Literacy Trust – with charity Read for Good, which has been running its Readathon in individual schools since 1984.

Read for Good Chief Executive, Justine Daniels said: “Our aim is to build a buzz about reading and books. Learning to love to read as a child is one of the greatest things you can do and we know that children who take part in Readathon are more likely to read more, read more widely and use their school library. We’d also love the wider city to join in with our DEAR Manchester on the final day: Friday 28th.” 

Children taking part in the event will be sponsored to read whatever they like, with the emphasis on reading what they love. Money raised will be used locally by school libraries, on literacy projects in the city and fund Read for Good’s unique programme at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital. 

Deputy Headteacher of Manchester Hospital School, Martin Gaved said: “Read for Good’s storyteller and its two bright-orange mobile bookcases are well-known in the children’s hospital, where the service has been running since 2014. We love the loop of children in our city’s schools reading during fundraising events to bring stories into the city’s hospital. The power of stories to entertain and uplift is something I've seen first-hand at our hospital with Read for Good. We’ll be running our own Drop Everything and Read in celebration of the Manchester Readathon!” 

Poet Tony Walsh is helping cheer on children during the Readathon by hosting an event at Central Library and visiting a secondary school, he said: “I’m delighted to support the 2019 Manchester Readathon in our great city, a city of so many amazing writers, poets and artists of all kinds. Books and libraries are gateways to a brighter future for our children and it’s vital that we ensure that the benefits they deliver – literacy, empathy, knowledge, creativity and many more – are available to all, regardless of their circumstances. Through my own work in schools, plus visiting Royal Manchester Children's Hospital with Read for Good, I’ve been privileged to see the great benefits that Readathon delivers and I’d encourage everyone to take part and support this fun and important project in any way that you can.” 

The Manchester Readathon will also act as a trailblazer to the annual Summer Reading Challenge, which launches in Manchester libraries from 1 July and runs throughout the school holidays across the UK. 

Councillor Luthfur Rahman, Executive Member for Skills, Culture and Leisure, Manchester City Council, said: "Reading for pleasure can make a big difference to children's lives and their chances of future success, and it's at the heart of our Read Manchester campaign. We're really looking forward to joining forces with Read for Good for our first city-wide Readathon. If we can get more books to our schools and to the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital at the same time, then that's an added bonus. I'd ask everyone to get behind our young people and support them as they pick up their books and get reading!” 

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