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Moyasta National School Tops 'Reading Challenge'

Clare Champion, Friday, 15th June 2007

Moyasta National School has been named the overall winner of Clare County Library's transatlantic 'Reading Challenge'. The West Clare School's 21 students staved off competition from twenty other Clare schools by reading a total of 2740 books from November 2006 to June 2007. Tubber National School achieved second place and St. Senan's National School Kilrush finished third. Mayor of Clare Flan Garvey will present the winners and runners up with their prizes in Kilrush Library on 20th June at 1.30pm.

Last year, Clare County Library linked up with An Garda Síochana, Canadian Libraries, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and 20 of the county's National Schools to promote reading among children. 'The Reading Challenge' forms part of the 'Adopt-a-Library Literacy Program' which was established ten years ago in northern New Brunswick by the RCMP. The police act as the 'bridge' between the community and the library and, in return, the library develops programs and activities that directly impact literacy amongst children.

The participating Clare schools are Tubber, Burrane, Clouna, Carrigaholt, Doonaha, Lackyle, Killaloe Boys National, Ennis Educate Together School, Coore, St. Senans National School, Kilrush, Mullagh, Corofin, Flagmount, Crusheen, Newmarket-on-Fergus, Cratloe, Moyasta, Feakle, Doora and Inagh.

Challenging Pictou and Cumberland Counties in Nova Scotia, Canada, Clare schools largely contributed to a collective total of 632,259 books that were read by school-children in Ireland and Canada over the past eight months. Participating children in 20 schools in Clare read a cumulative total of almost 72,000 books.

"Moyasta National School yielded the highest number of books read per student, with a total of 21 children involved in reading an average of 130 books each by the closing date of June 4th", stated Ms. Patricia Fitzgerald, Assistant Librarian, Children's Services, Clare County Library.

Ms. Bláthnaid Laffan, a teacher at Moyasta N.S., commented, "Moyasta National School is delighted to have taken part and to be announced as the winners of the 'Reading Challenge'. The children really enjoyed the project from beginning to end, with each child having an opportunity to participate at their own level. The challenge most definitely encouraged the children to read more than ever before and the boys in the school were every bit as enthusiastic as the girls."

Meanwhile, Clare County Library has expressed its intention to promote the challenge to other Local Authorities all over Ireland.

According to Mr. Noel Crowley, Clare County Librarian, "We hope to roll out the literacy programme from this autumn. I am hopeful that the 'Reading Challenge' will be adopted elsewhere leading to increased competition for participating schools. More importantly, increased involvement will help promote the importance and fun of reading to the children and encourage them to use their local library."

Earlier this year, a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police visited County Clare to promote the transatlantic literacy programme. During his visit, Constable John T. Kennedy met with members of An Garda Síochána in Shannon along with some of the participants of 'The Reading Challenge'. Eric Stackhouse, Chief Librarian, Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library, New Glasgow, Nova Scotia accompanied the Nova Scotia-based Constable during his visit.

Further details on 'The Reading Challenge' are available at www.fightingcrime.ca. For more on Clare County Library's Children's Services log on to www.clarelibrary.ie or email mailbox@clarelibrary.ie.

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