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Pearson Reader Contest 2019 Winner Announcement

We are happy to announce the winners of the Pearson Reader Contest 2019 that took place from July 1, 2019 until October 10, 2019. We would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone for participating!

The winners have been chosen with the help of Marc Helgesen and Thomas Robb.


1st prize Ms. Erika Shinoda (IB English Global Academy)
Runner-up Prize Ms. Yukina Tsuchiya (Misa Learning School)
Runner-up Prize Mr. Arai (Ōshūkan Secondary School)
Runner-up Prize Ms. Nanako Iwamoto (Willpower Learning Institute)
Special Prize Ms.Yuzuna  Aono (Misa Learning School)
Special Prize Ms. Yura Nishimura (Yokkaichi Shiritsu Utsubehigashi Elementary School)


1st prize Ms. Emi Toeda (Seikei Junior High School)
Runner-up Prize Ms. Moe Saito (Ōshūkan Secondary School)
Runner-up Prize Ms. Hana Shimbo (Shoei Girls’ High School)
Runner-up Prize Ms. Ayano Higashi (Toyo Eiwa Junior High School)
Special Prize Ms. Pak (Kanazawa University High School)

Comments from our judges, Marc Helgesen and Thomas Robb

It was a pleasure to be the jury on so many entries this year. The number of people participating went way up this year. We are delighted. It demonstrates that a large number of people are discovering the joy of reading in English for pleasure. The books were more than classroom assignments. They were a change to explore to ideas (non-fiction as well as fiction).

Of course, the large number of entries made our job more challenging. There were so many good entries. Also, with so many levels – they ranged from adults and university students all the way down to elementary school. Comparing those presentations and essays went beyond comparing apples to oranges…even including mangoes and bananas.

The range of books also added to the challenge. Some books dealt with social and political issues (Martin Luther King, 1984). Others were about personal growth (Billy Elliot, Forest Gump). Still others were movie tie-ins (Lion King, Toy Story.) The range made it harder to compare, but the range is also part of the beauty of extensive reading: People choose books they are interested in. If you like love stories, read love stories. If you like mysteries, go for those. Non-fiction, fine. Whatever you love, there are probably graded readings in your favorite genre.

A few hints for people entering the contest next time

Hint 1: Be sure to note the word limit on the written essays and the time limit on the presentations.  Sadly, a few good entries had to be disqualified because they were too long. It wouldn’t be fair to compare those to entries that were much shorter.

Hint 2: Don’t introduce your report by saying “I am going to introduce my favorite book “The Avengers”.  You are wasting words, just start with something like “I really liked “The Avengers” because… .”

Hint 3: Connecting events in the story to your own life or to current issues is a good idea. It shows deeper understanding and an ability to generalize.

Hint 4: Don’t just read from a script.  If you can’t remember it, have someone hold the script in large letters behind the camera. Be sure to look at the camera.

Hint 5: Use a loud voice and try to have a pleasant expression on your face.  Don’t look serious!

Hint 6: Practice speaking in phrases connecting your words together smoothly and rhythmically with an English intonation pattern.

Hint 7: You are talking or writing about a story you love. Let your passion show. It makes your entry more interesting.

Finally, congratulations to everyone who entered.

To the teachers who encouraged their students to participate: thanks for making a difference.  You are giving them the tools to succeed both now and in the future.

To the students:  Thank you. Readers are leaders. You are the future.

Our Jury

Thomas Robb

Thomas Robb recently retired from the Faculty of Foreign Studies at Kyoto Sangyo University and now divides his time between activities for the Extensive Reading Foundation, of which he is the Chair, and editing TESL-EJ, an electronic journal for language teachers. He is the second President of JALT, and then its Executive Secretary until 1990, and has been active in many academic societies. His main focus is how to use technology to improve language learning. He is the designer of the two software apps mentioned in the article, MReader and Peereval. In 2017, he was honored with the “Milne Innovation Award” for his contributions to Extensive Reading” by the Extensive Reading Foundation.

Marc Helgesen

Marc Helgesen is an author of over 180 English language teaching articles, books and textbooks including Pearson’s popular English Firsthand series. He is a founder and former chairperson of the Extensive Reading Foundation (www.ERFoundation.org). He’s professor at Miyagi Gakuin Women’s University, Sendai


1st Prize

Teacher: Pearson Readers Full Library Set
Student: Amazon Voucher (3,000 Yen), with a Certificate

Runner-up Prize

Teacher: A level-based Pearson Readers Library Set of your choice (excluding the full set)
Student: 5 popular Pearson English Readers with a Certificate

Special prize

Teacher: 10 popular Pearson English Readers
Student: 3 popular Pearson English Readers with a Certificate

We will soon send out the prizes to all the winners.

Thanks again to everyone participating in this contest!