Pupils from Cavendish Community Primary School have won a day with best-selling author and illustrator Nick Sharratt, in recognition of their efforts during this year’s Summer Reading Challenge.

23 per cent of the West Didsbury school’s pupils completed the challenge by reading at least six books across the long summer break – the highest percentage of any school in the city.

Much-loved author Nick will present the children with their winner’s trophy and spend the day running workshops with the lucky pupils, on Friday 21 October.

The free Summer Reading Challenge takes place every year during the summer holidays, with children aged from four to eleven years encouraged to sign up at their local library, then read six library books of their choice.

This year’s Summer Reading Challenge helped kick-start the council’s city-wide Read Manchester campaign. The year-long campaign, in association with the National Literacy Trust, aims to get more children and adults to enjoy reading and to raise awareness of the power of reading to transform lives.

St. John’s C.E. Primary School in Longsight came second in this year’s schools challenge, with 19 per cent of pupils checking out six books from their local library – and they were also rewarded with a special day of workshops and poetry creation, from ‘That Poetry Bloke’, Craig Bradley.

Other prizes included a class trip to see the world premiere of the Wind in the Willows, donated by The Lowry Theatre – which was won by Longsight Community Primary School – plus a collection of 50 new school library books, won by Oswald Road Primary School, Chorlton.

A city-wide prize draw for all children who completed the challenge was won by Sirin Turshi, aged nine, who borrowed six books from Moss Side Powerhouse Library. Sirin, who attends St Mary’s C of E Primary, was presented with a £100 toy store voucher.

And a special prize was awarded to Muhammad Abdulwahab, aged six, for his exceptional effort of reading more than 40 books borrowed from Chorlton Library during the summer.

An individual winner from each library across Manchester has also received a goody bag of books and gifts.

This year saw a massive 64 per cent increase in the number of children who joined the Summer Reading Challenge – to 5,712 this summer from 3,494 in 2015. This means that around 11 per cent of all 4 -11 year olds in Manchester took part. And 48 per cent more children completed the challenge by reading six books or more – up to 3,771 in 2016, from 2,553 in 2015:

Manchester Libraries were helped by 66 local young people aged 13-24, who volunteered 670 hours of their time to promote the Summer Reading Challenge by signing up children and supporting the holiday activities – up from 63 volunteers and 550 hours volunteering time last year.

Executive Member for Culture and Leisure, Councillor Luthfur Rahman, said: “The Summer Reading Challenge is a great way to encourage children to keep reading right through the summer holidays and all the children who took part should be very proud of their achievement.

“I’m also very proud of the many young volunteers who came forward to get involved and who gave up so much of their time to encourage children right across the city to take part.

“Reading for pleasure is hugely beneficial for people of all ages – and our libraries will continue to encourage people young and old to make the most of our extensive book collections year round.”