The national champion of reading aloud is Annul Ilyenko from Gulbene

On September 26, the National Library of Latvia was full of children's conversations and laughter. As recently, 30 Latvian readers gathered together with their supporters to participate in the National Final of the Reading Competition.

The national reading aloud competition is a competition for 11-12 year old students in grades 5 and 6, as a result of which the reading champion is determined. The competition takes place in three stages - a competition at a school or local library, a regional final and a national final at the National Library of Latvia. The aim of the competition is to improve children's skills to choose suitable and interesting literature for reading aloud, to stimulate interest in reading and books, to unite children in joint reading activities, as well as to promote reading pleasure. The 2019/2020 school year is the third year of the Reading Competition.

Although the National Library of Latvia is the initiator and curator of the competition, without the active involvement of local libraries and schools, the competition would hardly have gained such momentum as it does now. This year, more than 11 thousand students took part in the competition. In the Gulbene region, eight schools also took part in the competition this year - Gulbene County State Gymnasium, Gulbene Secondary School No. 2, Lizuma and Lejasciems Secondary Schools, Tirza, Stāķi, Ranka and Sveķu Primary Schools. The regional finals were already scheduled to take place in April, but the virus, known to everyone, made adjustments. This year's regional final took place remotely in May - the participants submitted their readings in video format and the jury, without even meeting this time, nominated Annija Ilenko for the grand final in Riga - at that time another 6th grade student at Gulbene State Gymnasium.

The national competition was judged by an experienced jury - Egita Puķīte, provided by Zvaigzne ABC project “Reading Relay” manager; writer Agnese Vanaga; musicians of the band My Radiant You Ilze and Jānis Driksnas; Dace Dalbiņa - Deputy Director and Writer of the Latvian Language Agency Arno Jundze.

You can admire the selection of children's diverse books for your reading, from classic works such as Janie Rodari's "Tales by Phone", Otfrīds Preisler's "Little Witch", Viks "The Complicated Sparrow", Imants Ziedonis's "Brown Fairy Tale" to popular books all over the world - Jeff Kinnie's "Greg's Diary", Joanna K. Rowling's "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone", David Valles's "Gangsteromite" and "Bad Dad", Angela Nanetti's "My Grandfather Was a Cherry Tree", as well as works by Latvian contemporary authors Where did the owner disappear ”, Daina Ozolina“ Save the summer holidays ”and“ Unmask the directors ”, Dzintars Tilaks“ Summer of good pranks ”, Guntis Berelis“ Agnese and the Dark Lord ”and others. The main criterion of the competition is to show respect for children's choices, to promote reading pleasure and positive emotions.

Won ours - the great Annie with her reading of an excerpt from Harry Potter's first book! We are very proud of Annija, because she is the Children's Director of the National Library of Latvia for the whole school year, who will be entrusted with the opening of various representative events. But the main thing is that we are sure that children read books, read great, funny books full of rich content. Read creatively, excitingly and convincingly!

A big thank you to Annija's first teacher Biruta Rukmane, who has been the engine of the school's Reading Competition for three years now! Thanks to Annija's current class teacher Sabīne Rutka, Annija's great classmates who supported her in person. Thank you to Annie's family for their support and active involvement and thank you to Annie for a day full of positive emotions!

Thank you to the colleagues of the LNL Children's and Youth Literature Center for the wonderfully organized event. Special thanks to Silvija Tretyakova for bringing the idea of Reading Aloud to Latvia, for developing the methodology and the ability to interest all Latvian librarians!

Photographer - LNB photographer Kristians Luhaers.

Solvita Lībere,
Head of the Children's Library of the Gulbene County Library