MP for North Swindon

Justin Tomlinson MP

Justin Hosts Launch Of The Successful Summer Reading Challenge


Local MP & former Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Libraries, Justin Tomlinson, has once again hosted the Parliamentary launch of The Reading Agency’s incredibly popular Summer Reading Challenge.

The Summer Reading Challenge is designed to encourage all primary-age children to use the school holidays to read for fun. It is a unique partnership between The Reading Agency and public libraries across the UK which last year saw over three quarters of a million children borrowing, reading & talking about their favourite books, including thousands in Swindon.

The Challenge builds confidence and independent reading, while helping to prevent the dip in children’s reading levels during the long summer break from school.

An avid reader himself, this is the fifth year in a row that Justin has hosted the launch event in Parliament and was this year joined by dozens of MPs from all parties who took the opportunity to learn more about the Challenge as well as picking up books for their local community.

Last year around 700,000 children took part borrowing, reading and talking about their favourite books. The Challenge is particularly popular in Swindon, where last year, in Swindon, 2,638 children took up the challenge. Hopefully this summer we will see even more!

This year's theme for the Summer Reading Challenge is Space Chase, inspired by the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing.

To take part in Space Chase, all children need to do is to head to their local library. There they will be given a special mission folder to keep track of the six library books they'll be reading over the summer as part of the Challenge. There are also lots of collectible incentives to help motivate them in their reading mission!

Children can use the special website to create a profile, chat about books, and get help on what to read next, via the digital Book Sorter which already offers over 900,000 peer to peer children’s book recommendations in child-friendly categories.

The Summer Reading Challenge reaches children and young people of all ages. For pre-schoolers there is a mini challenge, while young people (aged 13 to 24) can volunteer and support younger children taking part. Volunteering provides a quality workplace experience for young people in libraries, inspires them to think about their future career and increases their employability as they gain useful life skills and confidence. Last year over 6,790 young people across the UK volunteered.

Justin Tomlinson MP said: “I hope parents, grandparents and carers in North Swindon 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 2638 children in Swindon 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. This year’s theme, Space Chase, is particularly relevant to Swindon as we are home to the UK Space Agency.”

Sue Wilkinson, CEO of The Reading Agency said: “At The Reading Agency, we tackle life’s big challenges through the proven power of reading. We know from our research that families and children love taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge, and we are proud to have been running the Challenge for twenty years this year. The space theme has been chosen to coincide with the 5Oth anniversary of the first moon landing. Last summer, children worked with illustrator Adam Stower to come up with ideas for the Space Chase adventure, and we hope the Challenge will inspire all children to use their local library and to read lots of great books throughout the summer and beyond."

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