It could be said that over the past 12 days, and over the next seven, for the children of Te Mata School in Havelock North "every minute counts".

It could also be said that for the same children, reading can be very rewarding.

The school is staging its second Read-a-Thon programme after the success of an initial one in 2012.

"It has got bigger and better," said parent Sarah Tilly, one of the organisers of the fundraising programme.


"Everyone has really got behind it - we've had great support from sponsors and, of course, the parents love it because it's all about the kids and the reading they are doing."

And she said they were doing plenty of it - especially as one of the many competitions being run was called Get Caught Reading. Children randomly spotted reading went into a weekly prize draw.

"The teachers have told me they see them walking past the staff room during lunchtime reading, hoping to be spotted."

All pupils had been given a tally sheet to record their reading sessions and have initialled by a parent, and it includes the minutes spent devouring the written word at home, at school, on the bus, in the bath, reading a story to a brother or sister or even the family pet.

But it didn't end there as the youngsters were also being encouraged to write book reviews or their own stories for which they could design and produce a cover.

Mrs Tilly, who is part of the Home and School support group, had worked in with teacher Patrice O'Connor to push the importance of reading and to make it rewarding and entertaining, as well as a fine school fundraiser.

Her own son was typical of many. "He was reading for about two hours last night."

Friday assemblies during the Read-a-Thon featured guest authors like Patrick Sherratt and Adele Broadbent, and for the last Friday of the month the pupils will dress up as their favourite book character.