Campaign To Get Every Child Reading and Joining a Library Supported by MP

Lincoln’s Member of Parliament, Karl McCartney MP, is supporting a campaign run by 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.

A unique partnership between The Reading Agency and public libraries across the UK, the Summer Reading Challenge got a record 810,000 children reading in the summer holidays in 2013. With the support of local Members of Parliament, libraries, schools and a host of well-known children’s authors including Jacqueline Wilson and Michael Morpurgo, even more children aged 4-11 will be encouraged to join the library and complete the challenge this year.   

Children will also be encouraged to share their love of reading by recommending a book to friends, family and carers with a campaign called ‘pass-it-on’ this year. The campaign is intended to inspire them to share their reading choices. It is endorsed by the new National Curriculum, which suggests that pupils should be "recommending books that they have read to their peers, giving reasons for their choices.”

Karl McCartney MP said: “I hope parents, grandparents and carers in Lincoln 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. Last year 2637 children in Lincolnshire 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 website to create a profile, chat about books, and get help on what to read next, via the digitalBook 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 recognise 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. 

Lord Graham Tope, CBE, Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Libraries said: “Encouraging children to read is really important, as it not only builds literacy but confidence too.  With the long school holidays fast approaching, the Summer Reading Challenge is a fantastic way to get kids reading in a fun and engaging way.  I know it is popular with parents and children alike.  This year’s theme, Mythical Maze, will no doubt push numbers even higher with its striking illustrations and fun mix of characters.”

Sue Wilkinson, CEO of The Reading Agency said: “Education policy makers understand the importance of children reading for pleasure. The Summer Reading Challenge which is developed and delivered in partnership with librarians across the UK is designed to keep children reading in the long summer break. It is the UK’s biggest children’s reading for pleasure promotion. Last year over 810,000 children took part with almost 67,000 because new library members to do so. What we hope is that everyone who takes part this summer really will find out that everything changes when we read.”

Ciara Eastell, President of the Society of Chief Librarians, said: “We know how much fun families and children get out of taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge and re-discovering what their local library has to offer for the whole family.”

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