As libraries reopen, the Summer Reading Challenge begins

Local libraries across the UK have begun to reopen as lockdown restrictions, triggered by the pandemic, gradually relax. With this in mind, I began to gather up our library books (those I’d borrowed for Daisy, and my own), ready to return them when I had an opportunity.

As I collected the books together, I reflected that it’s usually through my regular visits that I keep in touch with events at the library, such as children’s reading challenges. It’s around this time of the year that UK libraries bring news of the annual Summer Reading Challenge.

As local libraries reopen, children can begin to enjoy a wider range of books.
Time to get reading!

As I’ve written before, reading challenges are a fantastic way to engage children with library services and it often encourages them to increase their rate of reading. Challenges usually have an eye-catching theme, the opportunity to use stickers to record every book the child has read, and the chance to receive a certificate of achievement for completion. This encourages a steady sense of accomplishment as your child progresses through, and hopefully finishes, the reading challenge.

Given the grim stream of news we’ve endured in recent months, the theme for 2020 is a welcome opportunity to relax and laugh: The Summer Reading Challenge 2020, will “celebrate funny books, happiness and laughter. Children taking part in the Challenge will join the Silly Squad, an adventurous team of animals who love to have a laugh and get stuck into all different kinds of funny books!’

Notably, this year’s Summer Reading Challenge has been set up digitally, to enable children to continue to enjoy books throughout the summer, which is appropriate given the degree to which children and their parents and carers have relied on digital resources during the pandemic. The digital challenge is free to access on the Summer Reading Challenge website. 

There are plenty of ideas for summer reading from ‘silly’ picture books through to books divided into chapters, for primary school aged children who are confident readers. The site gives ideas for how to access the books if you are unable to visit a library.

A parent or carer needs to set up an account for each child. When a child joins the reading challenge, a random screen name is assigned to them – I look forward to hearing what name Daisy receives! 

And to hearing about her first Silly Squad story…

Granny Smith says:

  • Given the stress and uncertainty that the pandemic has caused for families, guiding children to read for pleasure is arguably more important than ever: studies have found that those who read for pleasure are better able to cope with difficult situations; they have higher levels of empathy and greater self-esteem.
  • I’m encouraged that some reopening libraries will be offering ‘Grab & Go’ bags for children. These will contain pre-selected books that can be checked out as a set. On a similar note, check out my post on Story Sacks, these are wonderful resources that allow young readers to enjoy story-based activities.

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