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Join the Silly Squad online - The launch of this year's Summer Reading Challenge

The Reading Agency's 'The Silly Squad'

Suffolk Libraries are getting behind this year’s Summer Reading Challenge which aims to encourage children to maintain their reading levels whilst at home.

The Summer Reading Challenge is an annual event aimed at 4–11 year olds which is coordinated by the Reading Agency and normally runs in libraries. Children are encouraged to read six (or more) books of their choice during the summer holidays with incentives and rewards on offer.

The challenge will naturally look a bit different in 2020 and for the first time ever children can sign up and take part online. The theme for the Challenge 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.

The Reading Agency has launched the Summer Reading Challenge a bit earlier in an effort to encourage children to keep reading over the summer and support parents and carers with children already at home.

Even though libraries are reopening in July, some library-based aspects of the Summer Reading Challenge won’t be possible this year due to social distancing rules. Children won’t be able to sign up to take part in the challenge in libraries or speak to volunteers about books they’ve read.

However, there are thousands of eBooks for children available from Suffolk Libraries eLibrary and once libraries reopen from July, parents will be able to borrow physical books for their children. 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.

Paul Howarth, Head of Content & Resource Development at Suffolk Libraries, said:

“The Summer Reading Challenge is the country’s most popular reading campaign and although it’ll be a bit different this year, we’re still encouraging children from Suffolk to sign up and take part. With children spending more time at home, it’s more important than ever that they read regularly from an early age as it’s been proven to make a real difference to literacy levels and development.”

Children will need to create a challenge account on the Summer Reading Challenge website. 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 will also feature video content, games, quizzes, and digital and downloadable activities to incentivise and encourage children and their families to take part at home. The challenge will run until September.