Libraries unite to continue to tackle children’s literacy
In a huge combined effort to encourage every child to enjoy reading, the public library network today launches The Summer Reading Challenge with an event at the House of Commons.
Speakers include Nick Gibb, Minister for Schools, and author Michael Rosen. Ruth Mackenzie, Director of the Cultural Olympiad will announce that the Challenge will be part of the London 2012 Festival.
Guests gathering to show their support for libraries’ contribution to literacy include some of the nation’s best loved authors along with MPs, councillors, publishing industry figures, librarians and library campaigners. 97% of UK library authorities are participating and over 760,000 children are due to join in.
“It’s every child’s birth right to benefit from the public library’s support for literacy. If you care about libraries, get involved in The Summer Reading Challenge and shout about the success of the new look library reading service and why we should all be fighting to develop it. Those taking decisions about the future of libraries need to hear the good news stories – it’s remarkable that in these tough times, libraries are leading the UK’s biggest and most successful reading promotion for 4-11 year olds, and we are immensely proud to be coordinating their work,” says Miranda McKearney, Director of The Reading Agency.
The Summer Reading Challenge has a proven impact on children’s literacy and enjoyment of reading and is a pivot for developing better joint literacy work between libraries and schools. Research carried out by the UK Literacy Association shows that participating in the Summer Reading Challenge combats the ‘summer holiday dip’ in pupils’ reading motivation and attainment, widen pupils’ reading range and repertoire and boost their desire to read at home.
Children who use libraries are twice as likely to be above average readers and Oxford University research shows that children who read for pleasure get better jobs than those who don’t.
“If there’s one thing families do in the school holidays, it should be joining the library to take part in The Summer Reading Challenge. Schools can’t be the sole focus of our efforts to ensure all young people grow up to be skilled readers – libraries are crucial. The Challenge is a massive opportunity to understand, champion and join in what libraries do for young readers,” adds Michael Rosen, Patron of the Summer Reading Challenge.
This year’s circus–themed initiative focuses on reading for pleasure as a means of building literacy skills. It combines a personal challenge – to read six books over the summer holidays – with social activities, a creative online element and collectable incentives. Every child completing the Challenge receives a certificate or medal. The Reading Agency is also coordinating Summer Reading Challenge volunteering opportunities for young people in a growing number of local libraries. The work is supported by the John Laing Charitable Trust. Present at the House of Commons will be representatives of the 3000 young people expected to volunteer this summer.
“We are calling for every Head Teacher to weave The Summer Reading Challenge into the school improvement plan and to ensure every primary school child is a member of their local library, every family knows the library is a free resource, and that class visits to the library happen throughout the year,” concludes Miranda McKearney.
To learn more about this great initiative and those involved, click through to these great resources:
- The Reading Agency – www.readingagency.org.uk
- The Circus Stars website for children supports the Challenge with games, author blogs, children’s message board and live “book choice help” from real librarians: www.circus-stars.org.uk