from Dorchester and the surrounding area have joined together to celebrate the joys of reading.

An event was held at the county town’s library to mark the launch of the Dorchester Area Schools Partnership (DASP) reading group.

Each of the 19 schools involved in the partnership sent two reading champions to the event to share information with other schools and report back to their fellow pupils.

The reading champions were chosen for their love of reading and one of their first tasks was to design a logo for the DASP reading group.

The group will also be setting up a blog where children from the different schools can interact with each other to talk about the books they are reading.

The partnership funded a parcel of books for each school to take away and they will go into every school so pupils in years 4, 7 and 10 will be reading the same books and can discuss them with each other.

The reading champions will mark World Book Day on March 6 by sharing what they have learned with fellow pupils and will hopefully start up their own book clubs at their schools.

Headteacher at Damers First School in Dorchester Catherine Smith said: “Our basic aim is to promote the love of reading.”

The launch also saw input from Dorset County Council’s library service and Waterstone’s book shop in Dorchester.

Mrs Smith said Waterstones had agreed that the children’s recommendations from books they read in the reading group will appear on its shelves in the county town store.

She added that the group would also be working on a recommended reading list for the summer holidays, with another one potentially to follow at Christmas.