Local MP Caroline Flint 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, which launches across England and Wales on Saturday 15 July.
Caroline Flint MP said: “I hope parents, grandparents and carers in Don Valley 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 1097 children in Doncaster 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.”
This year’s theme is Animal Agents, based on a detective agency staffed by all kinds of clever animals – furry, scaly and slippery – who are out to crack a case with a little help from their friends. Tony Ross, the UK’s best-selling children’s illustrator (including creator of the Little Princess books, illustrator of the Horrid Henry series by Francesca Simon, and books by David Walliams and Claire Balding), has created this year’s exclusive artwork.
To take part in the Animal Agents Summer Reading Challenge, all children need to do is to head to their local library where they will be given a collector folder to keep a record of their reading journey. As children read at least six library books over the summer, they collect stickers which will help them crack the clues and help the Animal Agents find out what's really been going on behind the scenes!
Children can use the special website animal-agents.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 600,000 peer to peer children’s book recommendations in child-friendly categories.
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, a unique partnership between The Reading Agency and public libraries across the UK, last year got over 729,000 children borrowing, reading and talking about their favourite books.
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, as part of The Reading Agency’s Reading Hack programme. 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 7,500 young people across the UK volunteered.
Sue Wilkinson, CEO of The Reading Agency said: “At The Reading Agency, we believe that everything changes when we read and we know from our research how much fun families and children have when taking part in the Challenge. This year we hope the wonderful characters created for us by Tony Ross will inspire more children than ever to take part and make use of their local library throughout the summer and beyond."
Neil MacInnes, President of the Society of Chief Librarians, said: "Public Libraries across the country are celebrating the joy of reading as part of the Summer Reading Challenge. There’s a brilliant range of free activities in libraries throughout the summer to bring the Animal Agents theme alive, and encourage children to read during the long break from school. Young people can also get involved in exciting volunteering opportunities, by supporting younger children taking part.”
For more information on the Summer Reading Challenge including how to get involved and resources for schools, go to www.readingagency.org.uk/summerreadingchallenge
Follow the Summer Reading Challenge at www.facebook.com/SummerReadingChallengeUK and on Twitter @readingagency #summerreadingchallenge