Adam B, Max & Harvey, and Dr Jess Wade announced as ambassadors for science and innovation themed Summer Reading Challenge

National Science and Media Museum to host 7 July launch event

The Reading Agency and Science Museum Group have today announced Blue Peter presenter and author Adam B, musician and presenting duo Max & Harvey, and physicist Dr Jess Wade as ambassadors for the Summer Reading Challenge. The ‘Gadgeteers’ themed 2022 initiative aims to spread the message that reading and science are for everyone; it will have its launch event at the National Science and Media Museum, Bradford, on 7 July.

This year’s Challenge – run by national charity The Reading Agency in partnership with Science Museum Group’s five museums – seeks to spark children’s curiosity about the world around them by encouraging them to see the science and innovation behind everyday objects. The National Science and Media Museum aims to inspire the scientists and engineers of the future; it investigates and celebrates photography, film, television, animation, videogames and sound technologies. It will provide a stimulating environment to get to know the ‘Gadgeteers’ at the launch event. On 7 July, a variety of workshops and demonstrations will be held in the Kodak Gallery at the museum.

Additionally, Bradford Libraries will lead an interactive storytelling workshop with a science theme for children from local schools. The Summer Reading Challenge officially begins in Scotland and Northern Ireland on 25 June and England and Wales on 9 July. Through taking part in the Challenge, with free packs from public libraries and through the digital platform, children will be able to join six fictional ‘Gadgeteers.’ The characters – brought to life by children’s writer and illustrator Julian Beresford – use their curiosity and wonder to understand the science behind a whole range of interests from fashion and technology to cooking and music.

The Challenge and its innovation-themed book collection will show that imagination can unlock endless possibilities, and the library is where this starts. This list includes numerous options spanning picture books, early reader books and middle grade titles by leading authors and illustrators, including: Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, Melissa Castrillon, Sunita Chawdhary, Alex Falase-Koya, Saadia Faruqi, Vashti Hardy, Caryl Hart, SJ King, Katy Riddell, Dr Ranj Singh, Lydia Corry, and Leo Timmers, amongst many others. The full list can be viewed here.

The Summer Reading Challenge reaches over 700,000 children across the UK each year and is delivered in partnership with public libraries. The Challenge continued to reach well over half a million children across the UK in 2021 as lockdowns eased, motivating children to keep reading during a difficult time. Families shared with The Reading Agency the ways that taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge helped their children to enjoy reading more, feel more confident about reading and ‘feel better’ during a tough period. Family use of libraries also increased amongst Challenge participants, with more than 130,000 children joining the library as new members.

Since 1999, the popular Challenge has encouraged children to read for pleasure over the summer holidays, building reading skills and confidence and helping to prevent the ‘dip’ in reading skills while children are out of school. By providing fun reading activities, the Challenge will support families and teachers by providing free-to-access recreation and learning resources – all created to keep children inspired to read. The digital Summer Reading Challenge platform will encourage children with limited physical access to the library to take part in the Challenge.

This year’s Challenge is also being supported by Pearson (sponsoring the digital platform’s School Zone) and Explore Learning (sponsoring the digital
platform’s Library Zone).

For more information, visit www.summerreadingchallenge.org.uk.

The Reading Agency

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