Duncan visited Melksham library on Friday to listen to children review the books they have been reading as part of Wiltshire libraries’ Summer Reading Challenge.
Duncan is supporting a campaign run by the charity 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 largest reading for pleasure promotion for primary school children.
Research shows the Summer Reading Challenge increases children’s reading range and their enjoyment of reading significantly. It builds confidence and independent reading, while preventing the dip in children’s literacy levels during the long break from school.
“I hope parents, grandparents and carers in Wiltshire will take their children to the library to sign up for the Summer Reading Challenge. It’s free, inclusive and makes reading fun – a vital ingredient in building literacy.
“Always popular, last year, 9,000 children across Wiltshire took part in the Challenge. I hope we can increase that number this year and show local libraries what a valuable asset they are to us and our community.”
Each year the Challenge uses a new theme to inject fun and creativity into reading. The 2014 theme is “Mythical Maze”, illustrated by award winning Sarah McIntrye.
Children sign up at the library and receive a mythical maze poster. As they borrow and read library books over the summer, children collect stickers of mythical creatures to complete their poster and discover facts about the creatures as they go. It’s a highlight of the holidays for thousands of children and families.
Children can go on the Summer Reading Challenge website to create a profile, chat about books, and get help on what to read next, via the digital Book Sorter which already offers over 300,000 peer to peer children’s book recommendations in child-friendly categories.
The Reading Agency is also working with SOLUS UK Ltd to add some “digital magic” to the 2014 Challenge – for the first time, librarians and families will be able to download a free mobile App onto their devices which will recognize key Mythical Maze illustrations and trigger audio visual content including videos, games and messages from the mythical creatures.
The Summer Reading Challenge reaches children and young people of all ages. For pre-schoolers there is a mini-challenge and for young people (aged 13 to 24) there is the opportunity to volunteer and support younger children taking part. Volunteering provides a quality workplace experience for young people in libraries, inspires them to think about future careers and increases their employability as they gain useful life skills and confidence. This year it is expected around 8,000 young people will volunteer.