Bolton School Junior Boys

Boys Earn Black Belts for Reading Books

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Three Junior Boys at Bolton School earned ‘Black Belts’ in reading during the spring and summer lockdown. Milan Kumar in Year 4 and Ayron Dhokia and Egan Moore in Year 5 each finished 50 books in the 2019-20 academic year.

They earned their ‘Black Belts’ as part of the Junior Boys’ School Blazer Book Belt reading challenge.

This initiative encourages boys to appreciate different genres and authors, read different types of material and discover the many ways of presenting the written word. They are rewarded with a series of blazer clips, designed with help from the boys and 3D printed in-house on the school’s 3D printer by Design Technology teacher Mr Winstanley.

The more pupils read, the further they progress through the seven colour bands, much like earning belts in martial arts, and eventually earn their ‘Black Belt’ in reading. The scheme has engaged the whole school and has been so popular that the school has struggled to print enough blazer clips to keep up with demand!

Ayron was so inspired by the reading challenge that he has set up a blog, The Library Mouse, where he shares his book reviews, star ratings, recommendations and comments.

After reading 50 books in just three months, Milan received a letter from Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, as well as congratulations from one of his favourite authors, David Walliams. He was named one of Bolton’s Lockdown Heroes after being nominated by his aunt and his achievement was mentioned on BBC North West Tonight.

Not content with just the Book Belt, Milan went on to complete the Bolton Central Library Summer Reading Challenge. He also raised £2,232 for the National Literary Trust through a Fit For Lit challenge which involved him cycling 500 laps of the University of Bolton Stadium: 50 laps a day to represent the 50 books he read during Lockdown. During this incredible feat, he met BWFC Head Coach Ian Evatt, and he has gone on to become the Bolton Wanderers’ Book Ambassador. He has been providing a steady stream of recommendations via Twitter since the start of September.

The story of Milan’s numerous achievements has been widely spread and applauded on social media and has even been recognised by the Education Secretary, who congratulated him for the money raised.

Many other pupils at the Junior Boys’ School also achieved the Book Belt at different levels over the course of the national lockdown. Sue Faulkner, the Junior Boys' Headteacher, said: ‘I am delighted that boys took this opportunity to expand their reading horizons through the Blazer Book Belt Challenge.’

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