The campaign is run by charity The Reading Agency in partnership with libraries as a way of encouraging primary school children to read more, as last year saw more than 780,000 children borrowing, reading and talking about their favourite books across the country.
This year’s theme for the Big Friendly Read Summer Reading Challenge is Roald Dahl, to celebrate 100 years since the author’s birth, and all children have to do to complete the challenge is to read six books by mid-September.
Every young reader who signs up will receive rewards for each book they tell library staff about – and those who read all six books will get a special Big Friendly Read medal and certificate.
There are even special limited edition cards featuring some of Dahl’s most popular characters, created in brand new illustrations by Sir Quentin Blake, up for grabs.
Mr Loughton said: “I hope parents, grandparents and carers in East Worthing and Shoreham 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 13,145 children in West Sussex 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 www.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 more than 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/read which 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 between 13-24 there is the opportunity to volunteer and support younger children taking part.
Sue Wilkinson, chief executive officer at 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, added: “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
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