For the month of June, 11-year-old Myles Wilkins has spent his spare time reading. The books he read weren’t story books but more educational.
‘‘I read 10 books, mainly about planets,’’ he said.
Myles has Autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and his reading was part of the Blind and Low Vision New Zealand’s (BLVNZ) annual Great Kiwi Bookathon (GKB).
It took place throughout June and was an opportunity for children to read any books they wanted and while doing this they could win cool stuff and raise funds and awareness of the work done by BLVNZ.
Myles was joined by 3000 other children taking part, he took part last year and wanted to do it again this year.
‘‘I like to help others and I have enjoyed it,’’ he said.
The reading wasn’t without challenges for Myles because holding the books hurt his hands due to sensory issues in his hands.
Myles mum, Cindy Wilkins, said ‘‘even the lightest touch of the page can trigger off things for him and then he becomes fixated on the touch and doesn’t focus on what he is reading.’’
Myles didn’t let the sensory issue deter him from taking part in the bookathon, he found a practical solution, his Mum’s recipe book stand where he could lean the book up and not have to hold it.
As an incentive to keep reading and to get sponsorship from friends, family, neighbours, anyone who would like to support this fundraiser, there were prizes, such as ‘a best bookworm drink bottle, a VIP Club pin and a personal certificate. So far Myles has earned a Bookathon book bag for raising $40 ‘‘and I am waiting for my t-shirt for raising $125,’’ he said.
To prepare for the challenge Myles headed to the library to arm himself with a bag of books.
He chose topics that interested him as he likes space and planets and ‘‘reading for the challenge also helped him improve his own reading’’, Cindy said.
Myles had set an amount he wanted to raise ‘‘my goal is $250 and I raised $287.’’ The money raised will be used to help fund the service BLVNZ provides such as an accessible library service, counselling to support families as they adjust to changes in their lives and the future.
Because of the types of books Myles is reading he is also learning along the way and ‘‘despite his own challenges through this bookathon he is helping others with their challenges,’’ Cindy said.
Myles plans to continue with his reading once the challenge is over as he is enjoying reading.
‘‘I would do it again next year,’’ he said.