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ByDave Stopher

Jul 11, 2018 #Competition

Nominations are now open for Teesside’s Reading Heroes competition which celebrates children from Stockton-on-Tees who have gone above and beyond to help or inspire others through reading.

The competition, now in its third year, asks parents, guardians, teachers, families and friends to nominate a local child under the age of 12 who has inspired others through books.

Teesside launched the competition as part of the Young Readers Programme – an initiative delivered by the National Literacy Trust in partnership with Teesside and its owner, British Land. To date, the programme has helped encourage more than 1600 local children to read for fun in their spare time.

The Reading Heroes competition will be judged by a panel made up of representatives from Teesside and the National Literacy Trust, with the winner receiving £150 of National Book Tokens; £50 for the child to spend themselves and £100 for their school library.

A runner up will receive a copy of David Walliams’ best-selling children’s novel, ‘The Midnight Gang’.

Nominations can be made via Teesside’s website before Wednesday 18th July where adults can submit a short entry describing why their nominee deserves to win.


The Young Readers Programme recently saw children from Berwick Hills Primary School, Tilery Primary School and Mandale Mill Primary School take part in a range of fun literacy-themed workshops culminating in a visit to Teesside, where they enjoyed a group storytelling session as well as educational activities with staff from Nando’s, HobbyCraft, Hollywood Bowl and WH Smith. Each school was also given £100 of vouchers from British Land to purchase new books to help grow their libraries.

The latest research from the National Literacy Trust shows that children who read daily outside the classroom are five times more likely to read above the expected level for their age.[1] Last year, 28% of children in Stockton-on-Tees were unable to read well by the time they left primary school, rising to 49% of children from disadvantaged backgrounds.[2]

Mike Clarke, Centre Director at Teesside, said: “We had a fantastic time welcoming the local schoolchildren and helping them to get excited about reading.

“The Young Readers Programme is something we’re really proud to be part of as it has a direct impact on the lives of young children in our community. We’re particularly pleased to be launching our Reading Heroes competition again this year. After its success over the last couple of years, we can’t wait to hear about all the wonderful, inspiring young readers in Stockton-on-Tees.”

Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust, said: “Poor literacy can have a life-long impact on employability, health, confidence and happiness, so encouraging children to develop a love of reading at an early age is an essential part of our goal to help improve literacy levels in Stockton-on-Tees.

“We’re extremely grateful to British Land, Teesside and its retailers for their continued support of the programme, and we’re looking forward to reading all the exciting nominations for Stockton-on-Tees’ young Reading Hero this year.”

To nominate a local child as Stockton-on-Tees’ young ‘Reading Hero’, visit: https://www.teessideshopping.co.uk/readinghero