Chester MP Stephen Mosley is supporting a campaign run by The Reading Agency to encourage all primary school children to join their local library and take part in this year’s Summer Reading Challenge – the UK’s biggest reading promotion for primary school children.
The Challenge which begins on 14 July is for every child aged 4-11 years to read six books of their choice from their local library during the summer holidays. Children earn stickers along the way and will be given a certificate or “Olympic style” medal when they complete the Challenge. This is the 14th year of the Challenge and this year the theme is “Story Lab” which is set in a city hosting the Olympic Games www.story-lab.org.uk.
Over 20 popular children’s authors are supporting the campaign including children’s laureate Julia Donaldson and fellow award-winning writers Malorie Blackman, Charlie Higson, Anthony Horowitz, Michael Morpurgo, Michael Rosen and Jacqueline Wilson.
Stephen Mosley said; “I hope parents and carers in Chester will take their children to their local library this summer and if they aren’t already members sign up and do the Summer Reading Challenge. It’s free and makes reading fun, a vital ingredient in building literacy. Last year 4859 children in Cheshire West and Chester took part in the Challenge. I hope we will beat that figure this year and show local libraries how much we value them.”
This year libraries will be linking the Challenge to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, as it is an official project in the London 2012 Festival – the finale of the Cultural Olympiad www.london2012.com/festival. Details of local events are available from local libraries.
Miranda McKearney, Chief Executive of The Reading Agency said;“ With so much pressure on libraries, this year of all years is the time to support the work libraries do to inspire children to enjoy reading. Research shows that children who use libraries are twice as likely to be above average readers and that children who take part in the Challenge go back to school with improved reading skills and a boost to their confidence.“
Justin Tomlinson MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Libraries said; “An international reading and literacy study found that only 40% of English children were keen readers as opposed to 64% of Italians. It’s really important that we tackle this as reading for pleasure is a more important determinant of children’s educational success than their family’s socio-economic status.”
Tony Durcan of the Society of Chief Librarians said; “The Summer Reading Challenge showcases how libraries are modernising the way they support children’s reading. It combines a fun, incentivised challenge with book talking support from library staff and teenage volunteers, lots of live events, and a fantastic website – www.story-lab.org.uk. “
Annie Mauger, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals said: “The Summer Reading Challenge is an incredible initiative and great way of encouraging children and young people to keep reading and using their library over the summer. Knowledgeable, passionate and skilled library staff in schools and public libraries are so important to engage children with exciting books and brilliant writing.”
This year the Challenge is also a Children’s University validated learning activity. Children enrolled in a Children’s University can get their passports stamped at their local library and earn up to ten hours of “Children’s University learning” if they complete the Challenge. They will be able to earn a further four hours if they complete additional activities organised by local libraries. The hours will count towards Children’s University certificates.