Take a look back at summer with us in this week’s Princh Library Blog! More specifically at the Summer Reading Challenge happening in Newham Libraries! Read the article written by the Stratford Library’s Supervisor, Selena Encalada Reyes. Enjoy!

What is the Summer Reading Challenge?

Summer Reading Challenge is a national scheme that launched over 20 years ago and every year The Reading Agency works in partnership with public libraries around the United Kingdom to attract children of all ages to join the challenge and entertain themselves reading throughout the summer holidays.

The challenge encourages children under the age of 11 to explore different fiction and non-fiction books, audiobooks, reading well or dyslexia friendly books by providing prizes, stickers and a medal once all six books have been read and returned to the libraries. Every year The Reading Agency delivers new themes to keep the challenge interesting for all. This Summer’s Challenge theme is Ready, Set, Read! that promotes sports and reading, which after all aims to keep our children’s bodies and minds active over the summer holidays.

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Each year teachers all over the country feedback to public libraries on how beneficial the challenge is to the children, especially those who attend library visits to get a clear idea of what it entails and how to take part.  

My experience with the Summer Reading Challenge

I have worked in Stratford Library for almost 3 years and taken part in the challenge 3 summers so far, I have liaised with schools as a Children’s Champion and Library Supervisor and I have been able to get a deeper understanding of the benefits it has on our community. It is a good opportunity for parents to get reading when they see their children excited about all the prizes they can get if they read all the books they need to complete the challenge. I have seen how older siblings enthuse their younger siblings to read and see who is the fastest in finishing the challenge or who reads the most pages a day.

Newham Libraries has joined 34,208 children to the challenge and so far 5,152 have finished the challenge. Numbers are starting to pick up again since COVID severely affected the engagement between schools and libraries however we have seen a 28.8% increase in the number of finishers compared to 2022.

Ready, Set, Read! table with Selena

Summer Reading Challenge booth and Selena

The Summer Reading Challenge would not be possible without the amazing teachers we have the pleasure of working in partnership with. They go above and beyond to book class visits in the libraries, to remind children and parents of how the challenge works, when they should return their books and so on. And not to forget our lovely librarians who prepare fun and interactive class visits to encourage children to take out books and dare to read different authors and titles that they may overlook.

All in all, the Summer Reading Challenge is a fantastic opportunity to get reading and encourage our children to occupy their summers with books, audiobooks, etc. as well as activities in libraries that link the challenge with some arts and crafts, crossword and word search activities, storytelling, among other activities that local libraries organize and run daily to keep our children entertained.

We will be back with another interesting article from the library world soon!

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Selena Encalada Reyes

Selena is the Library’s Supervisor at Stratford Library in Newham Council. She enjoys organizing all kinds of events for adults and children and therefore giving the community a diverse range of things to do and benefit from. Selena loves working in a library as she can make a difference in the lives of the over 30,000 members of the public who visit Stratford Library each month.

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