The Summer Reading Challenge will be launched in Wales today by the Education Minister and the Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism.
The annual Challenge aims to get children between the ages of 4 and 11 to read 6 books over the summer holidays.
This year’s challenge sees a shift to a new bilingual digital platform, supported by library e-lending services, online events and links to existing digital resources. The challenge includes both English and Welsh-medium books.
The theme of the challenge this year is ‘Silly Squad’ and will celebrate funny books, happiness and laughter. Children taking part in the challenge will join the Silly Squad, an adventurous team of animals who “love to have a laugh and get stuck into all sorts of funny books!”
Last year, more than 37,000 children from across Wales took part in the challenge. Over 3,000 children joined libraries as new members, and 33,000 children took part in library events.
The Education Minister, Kirsty Williams, said:
As a book lover myself, I know what a great pleasure it is to read over the holidays.
Each year, thousands of children join libraries because of the Summer Reading Challenge, which is a really good way to develop reading skills, discover new authors and gain a lifelong passion for books.
The Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Dafydd Elis-Thomas, said:
I’m really pleased the Welsh Government can support libraries with this year’s challenge. The scheme has become an annual event for many children, who look forward to taking part every year.
I’d like to thank all of the library staff involved in making the Summer Reading Challenge such a success in Wales.
Nicola Pitman Chair of the Society of Chief Librarians Wales, said:
Libraries in Wales now have their biggest ever range of eBooks, comics and magazines to download, and this year’s Summer Reading Challenge is set to really help young readers and parents maximise opportunities to engage with fun topics and stories.
Click & Collect services are also coming into place across the country to help access library books safely during this time. With a new-look website offering lots of great resources, ideas and incentives, we love how easy it is to sign up online and get started. We’re looking forward to everyone getting silly and joining the Summer Reading Challenge squad.
Karen Napier, Chief Executive Officer of The Reading Agency, said:
We’re thrilled to be developing a bilingual Welsh/ English Summer Reading Challenge digital platform, which will be ready for families to enjoy from mid-July.
The Reading Agency are committed to ensuring the proven power of reading is accessible for all. I’m looking forward to public libraries and families in Wales taking part in the Challenge and having a seriously silly summer!
Chief Executive of the Books Council of Wales, Helgard Krause, said:
Nurturing and encouraging reading is more important at this time than ever before. Research clearly shows that picking up a book is not only good for our mental health and wellbeing - it also helps to strengthen and reinforce children's language and educational skills. Good luck and enjoyment to everyone involved in this year's Summer Reading Challenge.
Further information can be found on the Summer Reading Challenge website.