The Summer Reading Challenge encourages children aged 4 to 11 to enjoy the benefits of reading for pleasure over the summer holidays. It challenges children to read 6 library books over the 6-week break. A prize is awarded for every book they read and after the sixth book is read, they receive a medal and certificate too!

Now in its 23rd year the Summer Reading Challenge is a national initiative produced by The Reading Agency and delivered in partnership with libraries.and each year the Challenge motivates over 700,000 children to keep reading to build their skills and confidence.

This year’s theme

Every year there is a different theme for the Challenge which gives focus for the East Sussex library events and the activities on the Reading Agency’s Summer Reading Challenge website. This year’s Summer Reading Challenge theme is Gadgeteers, which focuses on inspiring children to see the science and innovation behind everyday objects, showing that reading and science are for everyone.

Why get involved in the challenge?

We asked one of our wonderful librarians why children should be taking part:

“The Summer Reading Challenge aims to support children to read widely and for pleasure​. It helps to improve children’s literacy and confidence in reading. This could be the start of a child’s reading journey​ and really make them fall in love with reading. For some children the motivation can fall off during the longer school summer holidays and the challenge can really help with that.

It also encourages parents and families to get involved with the child’s reading. Be it reading the books to their child or having their child read the books out loud to them.”

It is also a great opportunity to get to know your local library or even visit different branches. Our librarian said:

“During the lead up to the the Summer Reading Challenge, the library service is also able to make valuable links with local schools and the wider community​ while promoting the challenge. Creating these ties with the community is an essential part of our outreach work. It also creates volunteering opportunities to all members of the community aged 13 and over.”

Reasons to love it…

We also spoke to Holly from Hastings, whose 10-year-old daughter is on her fourth year of the challenge and her 4-year-old son joining for the first time!

“I first heard about the Summer Reading Challenge after someone came to an assembly at my daughter’s school. She told me all about the challenge and we signed her up that summer. They told us about the preschool challenge when we visited Hastings Library and we signed my son up for that. My daughter has taken part in the challenge for the last 4 years. She is desperate to get the medal each year!”

Hollie has also attended some events as part of the challenge:

“We went to a family animation event at Eastbourne during the summer holidays which my daughter absolutely loved! It was great to do an activity together that was so different.”

Holly also shared why the challenge is so important to her family:

“The Summer Reading Challenge gives children a realistic goal and encourages them to keep up with reading in an exciting way over the school holidays. Reading allows my children to enter other worlds, explore their imagination, and supports them in their learning away from school.

“My daughter loves the challenge and getting the rewards. It also starts her on new topics of books and sends her to new areas of the libraries over East Sussex (we have visited four different libraries for the Summer Reading Challenge events over the last few years)!”

And the pre-school challenge is going down a hit with Holly’s son:

“My younger son is doing the challenge for the first time and the Gadgeteers theme has really helped to interest him and hold his attention.

“Our local library in Hastings is wonderful for all the family. There is a special place for everyone, from a fun boat for our 2-year-old to play in and a look at books, to little hideouts with for the older children to relax in and enjoy a story.”

There is still time to sign up as the challenge doesn’t finish until 10 September!!

Find out more about the Summer Reading Challenge and what your local library has to offer