On Monday May 10th, over 25,000 people from schools and businesses in Manchester took part in the #Take10ToRead Challenge as part of the Connecting Stories initiative and with support from Manchester Libraries.
At 10am, children and adults across Manchester stopped what they were doing to pick up a book and read for 10 minutes. The #Take10ToRead challenge came as a way to help promote reading to promote reading for wellbeing. Regularly taking time away and escaping the pressures of everyday life through reading has been proven to help people unwind and relax as well as improve concentration and memory.
As part of the challenge, the people of Manchester were asked to pick up a book, comic, magazine, or newspaper and read it for just 10 minutes, as research shows this all that is needed to benefit wellbeing. Schools and local businesses participated in the challenge, sharing images on social media with the hashtag #Take10ToRead in order to promote the importance of reading.
Across the nation, 100,000 children and adults took part in the challenge.
In support of the initiative, award-winning author Anthony Horowitz virtually visited schools to introduce the challenge.
In the virtual event, Anthony shared his love of writing and reading with the children, explaining that he finds reading “a wonderful way to escape from the world into a safer, happier, more enjoyable place.” He encouraged the children to follow their passions and to always do what they love.
In a Q&A session with the children, Anthony revealed his favourite place to read is in bed, saying, “I start each day, every morning, I read a book – or part of a book, a chapter or page of a book, depending on how I’m feeling. In the morning I start by reading a bit of a story and when I get out of bed I feel happier.” He then introduced the #Take10ToRead challenge at 10am ending on the note, “the most important thing to do, is to enjoy it.”
Anthony Horowitz is the author of the best-selling Alex Rider and Power of Five book series’. The Alex Rider series has been adapted for television and the first season is available to watch on Amazon Prime. Anthony has won numerous awards including Children’s Book of the Year and the Red House Children’s Book Award.
Local author Matt Cain also participated in the challenge to encourage a love of reading amongst adults. Matt Cain is the author of the bestseller, Madonna of Bolton. To celebrate the day, Matt shared a preview of his new novel, The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle, with Manchester Libraries at 10am.
Councillor Luthfur Rahman OBE, Executive Member for Skills, Culture and Leisure, said: “Undoubtedly, the last twelve months has been full of uncertainty, which often leaves us feeling unsettled, stressed, and anxious.
“To combat this everyone needs to find a way of winding down and relaxing. Until you try it, you might never know that taking ten minutes out of your day and reading anything, a book, a magazine and newspaper might be the most effective way for you to gather your thoughts.”
“I would encourage everyone, young or old, to give it a go as there is so little to lose. Instead of scrolling on your mobile for 10 minutes, try something different.”
Connecting Stories is a new initiative delivered by the National Literacy Trust. Led by Read Manchester from the National Literacy Trust and Manchester City Council, the Arts Council England funded project aims to increase children and young people’s access to literary experiences and books. 24 publishers and over 60 children’s authors are supporting the campaign through book donations, author workshops and virtual visits.