Primary school children in years five and six will be challenged to read as many books as they can out of a possible 90 in the inaugural Read for My School competition, which launches in January.
The Pearson Foundation and Booktrust have joined forces to create the initiative with support from the Department for Education. The books included in the scheme will be in eight categories: Historical Hits (books that take you back in time), It's a Mystery (thrillers and spooky stories), Keep it Real (factual books), Laugh out Loud (funny reads), Stars of the Screen (books featuring characters from film and TV), Thrill Seekers (adventure stories), Out of this World (sci-fi and magic) and Wild Thing (animal stories).
Close to half of the books will be made available by Pearson to read for free online on the Read for My School website (readformyschool.co.uk). Those titles include books such as K M Grant's Blood Red Horse (Penguin), Finlay and the Bogeyman by Steve Alton (Pearson Education) and James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl (Penguin).
Meanwhile, 48 of the titles will be "recommended reads" chosen by a panel of teachers, librarians, booksellers and reviewers covering titles from other publishers. These include The Adventures of the New Cut Gang by Philip Pullman (David Fickling), Dead Man's Cove by Lauren St John (Orion), and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again by Frank Cottrell Boyce (Macmillan). These books are not being provided free by the competition.
All schools signing up to the scheme will be entered into a prize draw to receive a donation of books from a pot of 100,000 titles provided by Pearson. Children who track their reading online will receive virtual rewards and be entered into "spot" prize draws for books. Teachers will also be invited to nominate children for regional and national awards, to culminate in a "national event" in the summer term of 2013.
The competition will run from 21st January to 22nd March.