Let Your Kids Loose in the Library this Summer!

Welsh Books Council

Let Your Kids Loose in the Library this Summer! - 16 July 2014

John Griffiths AM, Minister for Natural Resources, Culture and Sport, and storyteller Michael Harvey will officially launch the Challenge in Wales at Canton Library, Cardiff, on Thursday 17 July 2014, between 10:30am—12:30pm.

John Griffiths said, "Reading can be a great source of enjoyment for children. Instilling a passion for reading early on is crucial to help them develop their skills and our libraries play a central role in supporting this. I hope everyone will go along to their local library this summer to take advantage of the free activities and discover some great new books to read and inspire them."

Organised by independent charity The Reading Agency and public libraries, the Challenge is supported in Wales by the Welsh Books Council and the Welsh Government. Now in its 16th year, the Summer Reading Challenge in libraries is the UK’s largest reading-for-pleasure programme for primary school aged children. Last year, a record 42,218 children in Wales (42% of them were boys) took up the challenge to read six books or more at their local library last summer; it runs in 100% of local authorities in Wales.

Support from Welsh Government is crucial to the success of the challenge in Wales and Minister for Education and Skills, Huw Lewis said, "You can never overestimate the importance of reading and I’m absolutely delighted to offer my support to the Summer Reading Challenge in Wales. We want to improve the literacy standards of all children in Wales, but wider than that I want children to enjoy reading in whatever form that takes. From books about facts to fantasy filled fiction if you foster a passion for reading from a young age it stands our young people in good stead for the future."

Every year the Challenge has a new theme and this year it is Mythical Maze, illustrated by the award-winning artist Sarah McIntyre. Children aged between 4 and 12 are encouraged to read six or more books of their choice during the summer holiday, and with posters and stickers (some of them are ‘scratch and sniff’!) and other incentives to complete the Challenge, it’s a highlight of the holiday for thousands of children. Teachers comment that children who take part return to school as more fluent, confident readers. Some libraries in Wales are also offering adults an opportunity to enter their own reading challenge, setting a good example to the children and a chance to win a prize.

Going on holiday? Just take the books with you, or download some of the free e-books from welshlibraries.org onto your e-reader or mobile device. By logging on to the Mythical Maze website, your children can keep track of their progress online, rate the books for other readers and get tips on what to read next. This year there’s even an app that brings illustrator Sarah McIntyre’s amazing creatures to life!

For more information on the Summer Reading Challenge – including how to get involved, and resources for schools – go to www.readingagency.org.uk/summerreadingchallenge Call at your local library or visit welshlibraries.org to find out more. You can also follow the Summer Reading Challenge on Facebook www.facebook.com/#!/SummerReadingChallengeUK

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