At home or at school, eight-year-old Termoncanice pupil Niamh Montague is never without a book.
The P5 self-confessed bookworm loves reading so much because “it takes me to another world”, she says.
Since mid-November, the Limavady girl has proved her passion for reading by turning the pages of a staggering 100 plus books.
Just this week, she became the first pupil in her year to have read 1,000,000 words as part of a new Accelerated Reading Programme.
“When you read you can imagine anything,” says softly spoken Niamh. “It’s like you’re in a world of your own.”
Niamh and fellow P5 pupils, are participating in the structured programme which is tailored to their level of development.
Instead of reading books too advanced for their capabilities, the programme guides pupils to what they should be reading, giving them regular targets to meet.
After reading each book they complete computer comprehension tests and are scored accordingly.
If they meet certain levels they are rewarded with various small prizes.
Parents are also involved and receive e-mail updates about how their children are getting on at each stage.
P5 teacher, John Proctor hails the programme a fantastic success.
“It caters for their needs,” he says. “It’s excellent for their development and there is something for all capabilities and allows all children to engage.
It’s also great for their fluency and understanding and is constantly setting them targets.”
A quick survey among Niamh’s classmates, asking if they enjoy the programme, supplied a resounding confirmation of just how successful the programme is.
“It’s fun,” said one pupil, while another said: “It’s really good.”
School principal Seamus Coyle intends to roll it out to P4 and P6 students.
“It’s great because it stimulates an enjoyment for reading and it’s particularly good for boys.
“It has that competitive element too and gets the pupils motivated. For example, if you take any of the Harry Potter books where they can just sit down and watch the DVD, it’s hard for them to have the stamina to read the same book.
“This programme provides competitive encouragement and it’s proven very successful.”
As for Niamh, she has already started on her next mission - reaching the 2,000,000 word limit.
“I really enjoy reading books. It helps with your learning and English and it’s fun. I love it!”