Marton schoolboy becomes one of the first in Blackpool to complete the Million Word Reading Challenge

Keane, with mum Kerry and Alice Coyle from Marton Primary School
Keane, with mum Kerry and Alice Coyle from Marton Primary School
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A Marton schoolboy has become one of Blackpool’s first book millionaires, despite having Aspergers.

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Keane Phillips, 10, has beaten all the odds to become the first child at Marton Primary to complete the Million Word Reading Challenge, achieving the goal in record time.

Mum Kerry and dad Shayne are delighted by his achievement and his school’s assistant head has praised Keane for being a model pupil.

Kerry said health issues had plagued her son from before his birth.

“We were aware there was a problem with our baby when I was pregnant,” she explained.

“A 20 week scan showed he had a cystic lung .When Keane was born we did not know whether he would survive.”

By 14 months old Keane was starting to talk, but lost the power of speech shortly after.

He went to speech therapy sessions but was not able to form full sentences.

He was referred to Blackpool Victoria Hospital paediatric consultant, Dr Nigel Laycock, who diagnosed Asperger’s Syndrome.

Kelly said:. “He had belief in my son and helped the transition into Marton Primary Academy School who have been very good with Keane.”

In February Marton Primary introduced the accelerated learning initiative.

The idea behind the challenge is for children to read a novel and then take a comprehension test to ensure they have read and understood the book.

If they get six out of 10 questions right they get the word count of that book added to their total – the challenge is to read 1,000,000 words.

Keane became the school’s first millionaire, having read more than 1,000,000 words and was treated like a king for the day by the school. His favourite authors include David Walliams, Roald Dahl and JK Rowling and his favourite book is Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney.