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Countdown begins for Summer Reading Challenge

Written by · Published Jun 6, 2019

Cartoon of The Rocket Family dressed in bright space suits

From Saturday 20 July, the annual Summer Reading Challenge will be back in full swing across all 44 of Suffolk’s libraries as well as the weekly Suffolk Libraries Local sessions in Shotley and Rushmere.

Children aged 4-11 are invited to sign up at their local library to read six library books of their choice. These can include non-fiction, eBooks, comics and audiobooks. Those who complete the challenge will receive a certificate at a special presentation in the autumn.

The Summer Reading Challenge celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and is the UK’s biggest literacy campaign, with a different theme each year. The theme for 2019 is Space Chase, an out-of-this-world adventure inspired by the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing that celebrates adventure, exploration, reading and fun.

Children taking part in the scheme will join super space family the Rockets in a thrilling mission to track down books nabbed from the Moon Library by mischievous aliens. The characters have been drawn especially for the challenge by top children’s illustrator Adam Stower.

Bruce Leeke, CEO of Suffolk Libraries, said: “The Summer Reading Challenge is a brilliant way of engaging children in the world of storytelling. Those taking on the challenge develop their literacy skills while having fun over the summer holidays.

“Reading for pleasure from an early age is proven to have a lifelong impact on both wellbeing and social confidence. Parents and their children also have the opportunity of share something new and exciting together.”

The challenge helps get three quarters of a million children into libraries across the country each summer. The campaign is produced by the Reading Agency and delivered by libraries across the country.

Reading Agency research has shown that reading for pleasure can have multiple long-term benefits for children’s development. It improves literacy and is more important to a child’s academic success than socio-economic status or the level of their parents’ education. Studies have also found that those who read in their spare time have higher levels of empathy, greater self-esteem and are better to cope with difficult situations.

In Suffolk libraries in 2018:

  • Over 7,400 children took part across the county, reading nearly 78,000 books.
  • Over 2,000 children registered for their first library card.

You can find out more about the Summer Reading Challenge by visiting the Summer Reading Challenge webpage and signing up for our Summer Reading Challenge newsletter. The first 100 people to sign up to the newsletter have the chance to win a Lego City Lunar Space Station!

We are on the lookout for volunteers over the age of 12 who might like to help support the reading challenge during the summer holidays. Summer Reading Challenge volunteers sign children up to the scheme and talk to them about books.