The students of Big Tancook Island Elementary School in Lunenburg County are world champion readers. The students read 632 books per child to beat out students from more than 80 schools in four countries in the the Adopt–A-Library WOW! Reading Challenge. The second-place finisher read 467 books per child. Education Minister Karen Casey presented the students with the world championship trophy at a ceremony today, June 16. Community Services Minister Judy Streatch also presented the students with the Canadian championship at the ceremony. The students also received a world champion banner and a cheque for $3,000 for books for their school. The WOW! Reading Challenge encourages a love of reading in school-age children. The challenge was created and delivered in partnership with Nova Scotia’s public libraries, the RCMP, communities, businesses and local police agencies. “Public libraries help support and encourage the love of reading, which is essential for developing literacy skills throughout life,” said Education Minister Karen Casey. “I congratulate all students for taking part in this competition and for continuing to develop their love of reading.” The 15,000 participants, including students from 51 Nova Scotia schools, read 1.1 million books between November and April during the challenge. Students at Lahinch National School in County Clare, Ireland, took second place in the competition and will receive a banner and $2,000. Students at Furghlan National School in County Clare, Ireland, came in third and will receive a banner and $1,000. The reading challenge was an initiative of the Adopt-a-Library Literacy Program to promote literacy as a long-term crime prevention strategy. Studies show getting children and youth to read regularly improves their literacy skills and helps them develop self esteem and make better decisions. As a result, they will be less likely to engage in activities such as bullying and crime. The Adopt-a-Library Literacy Program was started by Pictou County RCMP Const. John Kennedy almost a decade ago.