Summer Reading Challenge offers a great opportunity to rediscover the library

Written by MiriamSpall on Tuesday, August 18, 2020 - 20:26

Suffolk Libraries are reminding parents that this year’s Summer Reading Challenge offers a great opportunity to rediscover the wealth of children’s books on offer now that libraries are open again.

Recent research by the Literacy Trust shows that children have been reading more and enjoying reading during lockdown. However, when libraries and schools were closed it was more difficult for some children to access books.

Now you can borrow books again from your local library it’s a great time for children to get reading again and the Summer Reading Challenge is a great opportunity to improve young children’s literacy skills before they return to school in the autumn.

The Summer Reading Challenge is an annual event aimed at 4–11 year-olds which is coordinated by the Reading Agency. Children are encouraged to read six (or more) books of their choice during the summer holidays.

COVID-19 has inevitably affected plans this year and for the first time ever children can sign up and take part online.  The theme for 2020 is ‘Silly Squad’ – a celebration of funny books, happiness and laughter, featuring bespoke artwork from award-winning children's author and illustrator, Laura Ellen Anderson.

Even though libraries are open again, children won’t be able to sign up to take part in the challenge in libraries or speak to library volunteers about books they’ve read. However, there are thousands of children’s books which can now be reserved and borrowed from libraries, as well as a larger selection of library eBooks available. For this year's reading challenge children are also welcome to read any books, magazines or comics they may have at home or from elsewhere as these can count towards their completion of the challenge.

The Literacy Trust research published in July found that:

  • Children’s enjoyment of reading increased during lockdown (from 47.8% pre-lockdown to 55.9% saying they enjoy reading post-lockdown).
  • More than a quarter (27.6%) of children and young people said they were enjoying reading more during lockdown.
  • A third (34.5%) of children and young people said they were reading more during lockdown.

Krystal Vittles, Head of Service Delivery at Suffolk Libraries, said:

“The Summer Reading Challenge is the country’s most popular reading campaign and although we expect participation will be affected by COVID, it’s still a great opportunity to get children reading before they go back to school. Now our libraries are open again there are plenty of children’s books available to borrow and it’s not too late to sign up and take part.”

Children will need to create a challenge account on the Summer Reading Challenge website to take part. It’s free to sign up and provides a place for children to rate and review books they’ve read and work towards their reading goal. The site also features video content, games, quizzes, and digital and downloadable activities to incentivise and encourage children and their families to take part at home.

Browsing books is still only available in a small number of the county’s libraries but parents and children can borrow books using the new select and collect service or by reserving items via the Suffolk Libraries website.


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