Local MP Carolyn Harris is supporting a campaign run by charity The Reading Agency to encourage all primary school children to take part in this year’s Summer Reading Challenge. The Challenge launches across England and Wales on Saturday 13 July (although regional variations may apply).
Research shows that reading for pleasure is a more powerful factor in life achievement than socio-economic background and that children who use libraries are twice as likely to be above average readers. The Summer Reading Challenge builds confidence and independent reading, while helping to prevent the dip in children’s reading levels during the long summer break from school.
The Summer Reading Challenge is a unique partnership between The Reading Agency and public libraries across the UK. Last year around 700,000 children took part borrowing, reading and talking about their favourite books.
This year’s theme for the Summer Reading Challenge is Space Chase, inspired by the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing.
To take part in Space Chase, all children need to do is to head to their local library. There they will be given a special mission folder to keep track of the six library books they’ll be reading over the summer as part of the Challenge. There are also lots of collectable incentives to help motivate them in their reading mission!
Carolyn Harris MP said: “I hope parents, grandparents and carers in Swansea East will take their children to the library over the summer to sign up for the Summer Reading Challenge. It’s free, inclusive and, most importantly, makes reading fun. Last year 3383 children in Swansea took part. I hope we can increase that number this year and remind local libraries what a valuable asset they are to us and our community.”
Children can use the special website spacechase.org.uk to create a profile, chat about books, and get help on what to read next, via the digital Book Sorter which already offers over 900,000 peer to peer children’s book recommendations in child-friendly categories.
The Summer Reading Challenge reaches children and young people of all ages. For pre-schoolers there is a mini challenge, while young people (aged 13 to 24) can volunteer and support younger children taking part. Volunteering provides a quality workplace experience for young people in libraries, inspires them to think about their future career and increases their employability as they gain useful life skills and confidence. Last year over 6,790 young people across the UK volunteered.
Sue Wilkinson, CEO of The Reading Agency said: “At The Reading Agency, we tackle life’s big challenges through the proven power of reading. We know from our research that families and children love taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge, and we are proud to have been running the Challenge for twenty years this year. The space theme has been chosen to coincide with the 5Oth anniversary of the first moon landing. Last summer, children worked with illustrator Adam Stower to come up with ideas for the Space Chase adventure, and we hope the Challenge will inspire all children to use their local library and to read lots of great books throughout the summer and beyond.
Isobel Hunter, Chief Executive of Libraries Connected, said: “The Summer Reading Challenge is one of the highlights of the year in libraries. Encouraging children to read over the summer holidays helps them to see reading as an enjoyable way to spend their time. This year’s theme of Space Chase will really capture imaginations and encourage exploration right across the reading universe. Just as important is giving young people the opportunity to volunteer for the Challenge in libraries, so that they can develop new skills and support their local community. We are so pleased at Libraries Connected to continue our partnership with The Reading Agency and look forward to welcoming lots of children into our libraries this summer.”
For more information on the Summer Reading Challenge including how to get involved and resources for schools, go to www.readingagency.org.uk/summerreadingchallenge