Summer Reading Challenge

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The Summer Reading Challenge is the UK's biggest reading promotion for children aged four to eleven. In 2014 it reached 839,622 children. [1] It was started in 1999 and is run annually by The Reading Agency with the public library network (98% of UK libraries take part), featuring different themes per year.

The Summer Reading Challenge is a reading for pleasure initiative that encourages thousands of children to become avid readers every year.[2] The aim is to get children to read six or more books from the library during the summer holidays. Everyone who signs up can keep track of the books they read and receive encouragement to keep reading throughout the holidays. It's free to join and every child who completes the Challenge receives a certificate. Many libraries offer other rewards such as medals and stickers. Materials are available in large print with supplementary information in Braille.

In an Impact Research study for the Summer Reading Challenge, the United Kingdom Literacy Association (UKLA) found that the Challenge contributed to stemming the 'summer holiday dip' in children's reading achievement.

Author, Michael Rosen is a patron for the Summer Reading Challenge, and wants to see library cards issued to every child going to school.[3]

Previous Themes:

  1. The Reading Safari (1999)
  2. The Reading Relay (2000)
  3. The Reading Carnival (2001)
  4. The Reading Planet (2002)
  5. The Reading Maze (2003)
  6. The Reading Rollercoaster (2004)
  7. The Reading Voyage (2005)
  8. The Reading Mission (2006)
  9. The Big Wild Read (2007)
  10. Team Read (2008)
  11. Questseekers (2009)
  12. Space Hop (2010)
  13. Circus Stars (2011)
  14. Story Lab (2012)
  15. Creepy House (2013) illustrated by Chris Riddell
  16. Mythical Maze (2014) illustrated by Sarah McIntyre
  17. Record Breakers (2015)

An interactive website for children is available year-round. Here they can create a profile, chat about books, and get help on what to read next via the digital Book Sorter . This Book Sorter functionality already offers over 300,000 peer to peer children’s book recommendations in child-friendly categories, added by children themselves, who have read these titles in a Summer Reading Challenge or other activity.

Online resources are available to participating libraries.

Libraries work closely with schools, and each year library staff promote the Challenge to schools in the summer term. Invitations are provided for children to take home to encourage families to take part.

For young people (aged 13 to 24) there is the opportunity to volunteer in libraries during the Summer Reading Challenge each year to support younger children taking part.

This volunteering provides a quality workplace experience for young people in libraries, inspires them to think about future careers and increases their employability as they gain useful life skills and confidence. 8,000 young people are expected to volunteer in the 2015 Summer Reading Challenge. Many go on to volunteer to support other library initiatives throughout the year.

Summer Reading Challenge on Facebook

In Wales, most items are available in bilingual Welsh-English versions.

In Scotland, the Summer Reading Challenge is supported by Tesco Bank and it’s called The Tesco Bank Summer Reading Challenge .

The Summer Reading Challenge is also run beyond UK, in Eire and through the British Council’s teaching and learning services .

The Reading Agency is an independent charity with a mission to give everyone an equal chance in life by helping people become confident and enthusiastic readers. It receives funding from Arts Council England

“The Summer Reading Challenge is one of the largest creative reading opportunities available to children in the UK. It introduces children to one of the best free resources for their minds that they have on their doorsteps – the local library – and focuses on developing skills that are vital for their life chances and life skills – reading and a love of reading.” Alan Yentob, Creative Director of the BBC