Islington youngsters trial game designed to sustain a love of reading

Children at St Joseph's RC Primary School celebrate the launch of The Reading Adventure 

Children at St Joseph's RC Primary School celebrate the launch of The Reading Adventure with (from second-left) Karen Napier, CEO of The Reading Agency, Cllr Una O'Halloran, Executive Member for Community Development, Mayor of Islington Cllr Troy Gallagher, and Cllr Valerie Bossman-Quarshie, Islington's Reading Champion - Credit: Islington Council

Islington youngsters will get to trial a game designed to give them the inspiration to carry on reading at an age when kids usually stop.

Children in years six and seven are taking part in the pilot developed by literacy charity The Reading Agency, along with Islington Council’s Libraries Service and young people in the borough.

The Reading Adventure was launched by the Mayor of Islington Troy Gallagher and The Reading Agency’s chief executive Karen Napier, at a special event at St Joseph’s RC Primary School in Dartmouth Park Hill, Archway last week.

At the launch children watched a video introduction recorded by Cllr Gallagher explaining how the interactive game works.

The idea is for children to control an avatar inhabiting a virtual reading room and to pick one of six subjects, before choosing any text which relates to the challenge they are presented with – for example, finding out about their favourite sporting hero or taking a book to read outside for 10 minutes. 

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Children can win in-game prizes as they complete each reading activity, and jump between subjects or advance to more challenging activities.

The avatars were designed by pupils at Christ The King RC Primary School in Tollington Park, Finsbury Park.

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The pilot project, funded by the Charity of Sir Richard Whittington, will be rolled out nationally next year.

Studies have shown that the longer children sustain a love of reading, the greater the benefits.

While 10-year-olds who enjoy reading have a reading age 1.3 years above their peers who don't enjoy reading, this rises to 2.1 years for 12-year-olds and 3.3 years for 14-year-olds.

Ms Napier said: “The Reading Adventure provides a new way for young people to engage with the joys of reading at a crucial age where reading for pleasure often drops off. 

"We know how important reading is for confidence and social connection to others, and hope that this game will inspire children in Islington to embrace a life-long reading journey.”

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