The epic mythical adventure that took place in libraries across Wales during the summer was a great success with over 42,000 children taking part.
Organised by The Reading Agency and the UK public library network since 1999, the Summer Reading challenge is the biggest annual reading promotion for children aged four to eleven.
The Challenge draws children into their local library and inspires them to read for pleasure. It combines free access to books with fun social activities and a creative online element. Throughout the Challenge, library staff and teenage volunteers support the children, helping them discover new authors and explore a wide range of different books.
The theme for 2014 was Mythical Maze, illustrated by Sarah McIntyre, and the bilingual resources for the Summer Reading Challenge in Wales were supported by the Welsh Government through the Welsh Books Council.
Despite a challenging year for local authorities, there were good results once again in Wales, with a completion rate of 60% (compared to the UK average of 58%) in the Challenge.
2014 Summer Reading Challenge in Wales
- 42,091 children registered to take part in the Challenge
- 44% of the children were boys
- 25,338 children (60%) completed the Challenge by reading six books (UK average was 58%)
- At least 4,418 joined the library as new members
- There were over 835,000 children’s library issues in Wales over the Summer
- 16 visually impaired children took part using the VI resources supplied by the RNIB
- At least 27 young people (aged 12 to 24) supported the Challenge through volunteering.
Teachers often comment that children who take part return to school as more fluent, confident readers, and parents also see the massive benefits of taking part in the Challenge.
“Joshua really enjoyed taking part in the Mythical Maze and read a lot more over the summer holidays as a result. The challenge is a great incentive to get children – particularly boys – reading more” (Mum of 10 year old)
“My daughter has a speech and language disorder and I decided to complete the reading scheme with her. This experience has been amazing for her. The confidence she has shown in speaking to the adults about the stories has been such a joy to watch. Her understanding of the scheme we thought would be a problem but she has enjoyed choosing her own books weekly and then gaining the rewards. Thank you to all the staff” (Parent)
The Summer Reading Challenge is just one of many exciting schemes public libraries are developing to help children develop a love of reading, gain confidence and get new skills. This autumn has seen Welsh Government funding from the Department of Culture, Sport & Tourism for the roll out of the Every Child A Library Member campaign – enabling over 25,000 primary school children from 16 authorities across Wales to join their local library.
If you fancy a taster session of the Challenge why not take part in the mini Reading Challenge over the Christmas holidays – visit your local library or http://readingagency.org.uk/children/news/christmas-mini-challenge-2014.html