Photography copyright Liam Walsh

Ready, set, read! The Liverpool Readathon is coming!

Dragons, wizards and hungry caterpillars are on the curriculum for 30,000 children across the city as the Liverpool Readathon returns for its third year next month.

More than 100 schools have signed up to take part in this year’s event from 2-13 March which will include a visit from Waterstones Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell.

The Liverpool Readathon will also incorporate a citywide Drop Everything and Read (#DEARLiverpool) at 10am on World Book Day (Thursday 5 March), which is also open to local community groups and businesses as part of the Liverpool City Council-led Year of Reading #LiverpoolReads initiative.

The Readathon is organised by the Liverpool Learning Partnership with the charity Read for Good, which has been running its Readathon in individual schools since 1984. Children taking part in the event will be sponsored to read whatever they like – from comics to classics – with the emphasis on reading what they love.

Money raised will be used for school libraries and by the charities to fund their work in Liverpool, including Read for Good’s mobile bookcase and resident storyteller at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. The first two Liverpool Readathons raised more than £33,000.

How to Train Your Dragon’s author and Waterstones Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell is hosting an event for primary schools at The Epstein Theatre on Wednesday 4 March and then visiting Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in the afternoon.

Read for Good’s storyteller, Wilf Merttens will inspire older children at two secondary school events on Tuesday 10 March.

There’s still time for more schools to sign-up – email

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Read for Good chief executive Justine Daniels said: “Learning to love to read as a child is one of the greatest things you can do for so many reasons: from academic attainment to emotional well-being. For some children our Readathon is the spark that inspires a lifelong love of reading and for many more, it’s a fantastic way to reinforce and revitalise reading habits.

“Liverpool was the first city in the UK to run our much-loved Readathon across its whole school community back in 2017, in a model that’s now been copied by other cities including Manchester and Leicester. We can’t wait to see the creative ways schools will run it for the third time.”

Reading co-ordinator for the Liverpool Learning Partnership Jenny Holder said: “We’re already known as a city of football, music and culture – and increasingly Liverpool is also becoming known for being a city of readers, especially in 2020 with the citywide Liverpool Year of Reading campaign. We know our third Readathon will create a real buzz about books and reading across the city’s schools and #DEARLiverpool on World Book Day 5 March is something we’d love all children, teachers and the wider community to join in with – regardless of sponsorship.”

Cabinet member of education, employment and skills and lead for #LiverpoolReads Cllr Barbara Murray said: “It’s great news that so many schools across Liverpool have ‘booked’ their place on the Readathon this year. It’s an incredible opportunity to engage so many children and young people, and it’s wonderful that it is also happening during the city’s Year of Reading.

“This is now the third time that Read for Good and the Liverpool Learning Partnership have brought the Readathon to Liverpool and I’m so pleased that it has gone from strength to strength after the city was the first place to have a citywide event back in 2017.

“But the Readathon isn’t just for our young people! I’d encourage all the city’s grown-ups to get involved in Drop Everything and Read for ten minutes on Thursday 5 March at 10am and raise all-important funds for school libraries and for Alder Hey. And don’t forgot to let us know what you’re up to using #DEARLiverpool.”

Alder Hey’s arts co-ordinator Vicky Charnock said: “Read for Good’s storyteller and bright-orange mobile bookcase are well-known at Alder Hey, where the service has been running since 2014. We love the loop of children in our schools reading to bring stories into our hospital. Imagination is a ticket out to the wider world when you’re in hospital and the power of stories to entertain, uplift and distract is incredible and something I’ve seen first-hand at Alder Hey with Read for Good.”

Liverpool Waterfront