Tracey is supporting a campaign run by charity The Reading Agency to encourage all primary school children to take part in this year’s Summer Reading Challenge - the UK’s largest reading for pleasure promotion.
Research shows that reading for pleasure is a more powerful factor in life achievement than socio-economic background, and that children who use libraries are twice as likely to be above average readers. The Challenge builds confidence and independent reading, while preventing the dip in children’s reading levels during the long break from school.
The Summer Reading Challenge is a unique partnership between The Reading Agency and public libraries across the UK which last year got over 780,000 children borrowing, reading and talking about their favourite books.
It has a new theme each year and in 2016 the Summer Reading Challenge isdelivered in collaboration with The Roald Dahl Literary Estate to celebrate 100 years of the world’s favourite storyteller. The Big Friendly Read will feature some of Roald Dahl's best-loved characters and the amazing artwork of his principal illustrator, Sir Quentin Blake. It will encourage reading on a giant scale.
To take part, all children need to do is sign up at their nearest library. They’ll receive a special collector’s folder and as they borrow and read at least six library books over the summer, they can collect six special cards to complete it. The cards all feature original Quentin Blake illustrations and explore some of most popular themes in Roald Dahl’s books such as invention, mischief and friendship.
Tracey said: “I hope parents, grandparents and carers in Chatham and Aylesford will take their children to the library over the summer to sign up for the Summer Reading Challenge. It’s free, inclusive and, most importantly, makes reading fun. Last year 15650 children in Kent took part. I hope we can increase that number this year and remind local libraries what a valuable asset they are to us and our community.
Children can use the special website bigfriendlyread.org.uk to create a profile, chat about books, and get help on what to read next, via the digital Book Sorter which already offers over 500,000 peer to peer children’s book recommendations in child-friendly categories.
Families, libraries and schools can also download a free mobile app sol.us/readwhich will use the original Quentin Blake illustrations to trigger audio clips, including rare recordings of Roald Dahl sharing his writing tips and reading aloud, and unlock game content.
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. Last year over 9,000 young people across the UK volunteered. Young volunteers will be helping with the Challenge as part of Reading Hack, the young people’s programme from The Reading Agency.
Sue Wilkinson, CEO of The Reading Agency said:
The Summer Reading Challenge is developed and delivered in partnership with librarians across the country. At The Reading Agency, we believe that everything changes when we read and we know from our research how much fun families and children have when taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge. This year we hope Roald Dahl's fantastic characters, and Sir Quentin Blake's brilliant artwork, will inspire more children than ever to take part and make use of their local library throughout the summer and beyond."
Neil MacInnes, President of the Society of Chief Librarians, said:
"Public Libraries across the country are celebrating and promoting the joy of reading as part of the Summer Reading Challenge, providing a brilliant range of free activities to encourage children to pick up and enjoy books during the summer holidays. This year’s extra-special theme has led to a host of wonderful ideas, inspired by Roald Dahl’s unique and unforgettable stories. A wide range of activities are sure to inspire children to dive into the magical world of reading and there are lots of volunteering opportunities for young people to get actively involved in supporting Summer Reading Challenge events themselves."
For more information on the Summer Reading Challenge including how to get involved and resources for schools, go to www.readingagency.org.uk/summerreadingchallenge
Follow the Summer Reading Challenge at www.facebook.com/SummerReadingChallengeUK