This summer, children in Buckinghamshire, aged 4-11, are being invited to visit their local library to join a superstar team and their marvellous mascots by getting involved in the annual Summer Reading Challenge.
This year’s challenge launched on Saturday 8 July and runs through to Saturday 16 September. The theme centres on the power of play, sport, games and physical activity with the children taking part, encouraged to keep their minds and bodies active over the summer break. Over the course of the ten-week period, children are encouraged to read six books of their choice and follow the adventures of the themed Ready, Set, Read characters on their summer adventure.
Through activity challenge cards from the Youth Sport Trust, and an exciting, themed book collection, the Summer Reading Challenge aims to keep imaginations moving over the school holiday. By participating in the challenge, children will have the opportunity to explore new reading material, develop skills, and discover new interests. The characters in this year’s challenge are brought to life by children’s author and illustrator Loretta Schauer. The children taking part navigate a fictional summer obstacle course and track their reading as they go, rewarded by free incentives along the way, including stickers.
Libraries across Buckinghamshire will be hosting a range of additional activities and events for children and families throughout the school holidays, many of which are free. This includes a poetry workshop with Simon Mole across several libraries. The acclaimed children’s author will perform his well-loved picture book ‘I love my bike’ followed by some fun games to unlock children’s creative powers.
To take part in the Summer Reading Challenge simply pop into your local library. More information including details of linked events can be found online: Summer Reading Challenge 2023 | Buckinghamshire Council
Watch the trailer: Ready, Set, Read! Summer Reading Challenge 2023 | Bucks Libraries
Enthusiastic older children, aged 14+, who are passionate about reading are also being sought to take on the role of a Young Volunteer for the Summer Reading Challenge. The role involves encouraging children to complete the challenge, listening to the children talk about the books they have been reading and taking part in related activities. It is a great opportunity to get some volunteering experience and learn new skills. To find out more about becoming a Young Volunteer email firstname.lastname@example.org
Clive Harriss, Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture and Sport said: “It is never too early to develop a love of books and reading and the Summer Reading Challenge is the perfect way to introduce children to the joys of picking up a book and losing yourself in a story. The educational benefits of regular reading for children are well known but the effect on mental health and wellbeing are of equal importance, for those of all ages. What is more, borrowing a book from your local library is completely free, with books to suit every possible taste.”
The Summer Reading Challenge has been running since 1999 and helps to improve children’s reading skills and confidence over the summer holidays, ensuring they are ready for their return to school. With the help of local libraries, the Summer Reading Challenge is accessible to all and provides a fun, free activity for children. In 2022, the Summer Reading Challenge reached 723,184 children and families across the UK, with 608,015 children taking part through their local library service, a 31% increase compared to 2021. The challenge also drove 132,223 new children’s library memberships nationally, 40% higher than the 2019 pre-pandemic total.