A TEENAGER from Carterton has been named a national “literacy hero” after helping save her school’s library.
Jodie Evans was given the award by the National Literacy Trust along with Harry Potter author JK Rowling and actor Henry Winkler, best known for playing The Fonz in sitcom Happy Days.
It’s the 16-year-old’s second award of the year. In March she picked up the Literary Award in the Oxfordshire Youth Awards.
Her latest achievement comes from the NLT which has helped spearhead the Oxfordshire Reading Campaign, which is backed by the Oxford Mail.
They recognised her for overcoming her dyslexia and helping re-establish the library at Carterton Community College.
Jodie, who has since left school and is studying child care at Abingdon and Witney College, received her award at a reception at Clarence House on Wednesday hosted by the trust’s patron The Duchess of Cornwall and attended by literary stars such as authors Charlie Higson, Anthony Horowitz and illustrator Axel Scheffler.
She was chosen from hundreds of public nominations by a panel of celebrity judges including author Joanna Trollope, entrepreneur Levi Roots and comedian Miles Jupp.
Jodie said: “It was really amazing to be given this award, and quite surreal. I am really proud of how far I have come.
“I got my GCSE in English last year and that was massive for me.
“Reading is really important because it takes you to other places with your imagination and it has helped improve my writing as well.”
When she first arrived at Carterton Community College as a Year Seven student, Jodie suffered from dyslexia but overcame her reading difficulties through hard work.
She was also an active volunteer in restoring the school library, which had closed before Jodie’s enrolment.
In that role she sorted and labelled books, became joint leader of library assistants, completed over 100 voluntary sessions and assisted others by recommending books.
The school’s library manager Rosemary Stables, who nominated Jodie, said: “I genuinely believe that without Jodie’s support our library would not have been the same, and have missed her very much since she left.”
Jonathan Douglas, director of the National Literacy Trust, said: “Literacy Heroes and reading role models have never been more important at a time when our research shows that children’s reading performance is declining, children are reading less and are holding more negative attitudes towards reading.
“The National Literacy Trust is delighted to celebrate our 20th anniversary by honouring the UK’s top 10 Literacy Heroes who have made inspiring and significant strides to improve their own literacy or create positive opportunities for others.”