University hosts Big Book competition to increase reading among children across Derbyshire

25 July 2016

The University of Derby hosted a competition to increase reading among children in Derbyshire in order to raise aspirations and enhance their prospects.  

As part of its sponsorship with Derby Book Festival, the University invited more than 300 partnership schools to take part in the Big Book competition.

Derby Book Festival, which took place between 3-11 June, aims to bring Derby’s residents together in a love of books and inspire a new generation of readers.

Local schools produced a big book which was displayed at Derby Book Festival in the city’s Market Place at the Bringing Books to Life event last month. 

Fiona Shelton, Head of Department for Professional Studies at the University of Derby, and Elizabeth Fothergill CBE, High Sheriff of Derbyshire and Chair of Derby Book Festival, visited the winning schools, Bishop Lonsdale and St Augustine's in Ashbourne last week (July 19-21) to award them with a £50 book voucher.

Tania Sanders, Chair of Governors at Bishop Lonsdale, said: “Congratulations to the Year 5 pupils for creating the winning story in this competition. It was very exciting for the pupils to meet the High Sheriff of Derbyshire when she came to present the prize. We are all proud that Bishop Lonsdale has been chosen out of all the KS2 entrants by the University judges.”

Kedleston campus looking towards the library

The competition was judged by the Teacher Education English team at the University of Derby.

Fiona said: “Our initial teacher education team identified that Derby Book Festival was a lovely opportunity to work with our partnership schools across the city and the county.

“We are committed to working in partnership with schools and educational settings across the region to help improve education and children's life chances and raise aspirations. We can only do this by working together.

“The Big Book competition presented another way of collaborating with our schools and we know how much children enjoy stories and their beautiful illustrations so it seemed like a good idea. All the books entered into the competition were fabulous.

“The judges had a really hard task. But in the end we had to choose two winners. The winning books were very different but both were charming, with original ideas, quirky illustrations and they were simply irresistible, you couldn't help but turn the pages.”

Elizabeth said: "It was very hard to choose the winners as the entries were of such a high standard. The stories and illustrations produced show so clearly how vital books are to inspiring children's imagination. We were delighted that so many schools across the city and county entered the Big Book competition.”