On Wednesday (25 May), Durham Johnston Comprehensive School, took part in the final of the National Reading Champions Quiz from the National Literacy Trust. The team, comprising of Lucy Defty, Beatrice Scholar, Lottie Gregory and Patrick Amarasuriya, competed against 21 other teams from across the UK in the only national reading quiz which is entirely dedicated to knowledge of fiction books. The team went above and beyond for their school and enjoyed a fun day of quizzing.

This is the second consecutive year of the quiz put on by the National Literacy Trust, with generous funding support from the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS). Schools from across the country were able to celebrate their star readers while also championing reading culture within schools and encouraging reading for pleasure, reading diversely and the development of reading stamina.

Held at a prestigious central London location, the final saw the Durham Jonhston team battle through eight rounds of live fiction quizzing. Celebrated children’s authors joined the event in person and via video link including Sir Michael Morpurgo, Frank Cottrell-Boyce, Patrice Lawrence, Sarah Crossan and Jasbinder Bilan. The final was hosted by engaging quizmaster Mr Dilly who provided an entertaining as well as educational experience for teams taking part.

Speaking about the quiz, Patrice Lawrence comments: “I feel very privileged to have met so many fantastic young readers – seeing so many of them in one room makes my heart sing. Congratulations to all the teams involved in the final.”

During March, 500 UK teams comprising of 2,000 students competed across over 20 regional heats, meaning that the team from Durham Johnston Comprehensive School was one of only 22 teams to make it through to the final. In recognition of their success, the team was sent home with a regional trophy and finalist certificates.

Every quiz finalist was also sent home with a selection of free books, thanks to generous donations from Pan Macmillan and Penguin Random House, to encourage them to continue on their varied reading journey. Finalists were able to select from a range of YA titles at the ‘bookstall’ set up at the venue.

Henrietta Roberts, Senior Project Manager at the National Literacy Trust, said: “It has been a very special occasion celebrating this year’s finalists, the librarians who support them on their reading journeys and the authors who inspire them – I am in awe of these young people and their reading knowledge!

“The quiz is a really positive experience from the first regional heat to the grand final and it is wonderful seeing the quiz go from strength to strength with the help and support of regional organisers, librarians and the students themselves who bring such energy and team spirit to the competition. We look forward to welcoming many more keen readers to the quiz in the future, whether they are defending a regional title or having a go for the first time.

“Reading is for everyone and we can all enjoy the amazing world of children’s literature available today and celebrate our young readers through the National Reading Champions Quiz.”  

Barbara Hayes, Deputy Chief Executive at the ALCS, said: “We are delighted once again to have partnered with the National Literacy Trust to put on this fantastic reading quiz. It has been a brilliant opportunity for enthusiastic readers to be proud of their fiction book knowledge but also to learn about what it takes to be an author and how the publishing and copyright industry works. We congratulate the team from Durham Johnston Comprehensive School on their outstanding performance.”