We're very pleased to report that a record 810,089 children took part in the 2013 Summer Reading Challenge in libraries, a 9% increase on participation on 2012. The 2013 theme was Creepy House illustrated by Chris Riddell.
You can read the summary findings and regional breakdown of results plus we have put together separate reports about Summer Reading Challenge volunteering and our pilot with Arts Award Discover
Key statistics and achievements from 2013
- The Challenge ran in 98% of local authorities
- 66,760 children joined the library to take part
- 777,973 children aged four to eleven signed up to take the Challenge
- An additional 6,711 under four year olds took part
- Internationally the Challenge reached 25,405 children through the British Council (12,060) and in the Republic of Ireland (13,345).
"My son finds reading difficult & would rather do anything else than pick up a book. This reading challenge has REALLY helped to encourage him to read over the holidays, & hopefully his new-found confidence will continue into the new school year." Mum of 7 year-old from Essex.
Summer Reading Challenge website a big hit
Use of the Summer Reading Challenge website also greatly increased. Between 1 June and 30 September children added 192,661 books to the book sorter, a powerful crowd-sourced reading recommendation tool. The website attracted 188,689 visitors (up 39% on 2012 figures),visiting the site 343,876 times (up 57%) with 3,916,895 million page views (up 48%).
The finish the story competition was a very popular website activity. We received over 5800 entries to the six stories started by top authors Cressida Cowell, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Charlie Higson, Chris Riddell, Liz Pichon and Frank Lampard.
Children were spurred on to sign up and complete the by Summer Reading Challenge champions including football star Frank Lampard and children's laureate Malorie Blackman.
"My son was lacking in confidence in his reading despite being capable of decoding anything he came across. Taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge has made the difference, he is now reading with confidence, fluency & most importantly, enthusiasm! I'm so pleased that he has done this - participating in the challenge gave him the motivation to begin reading for pleasure, not just because school required him to. Thank you so much." Mum of 6 year-old from Essex
Increase in number of young volunteers
There has been a big increase in the number of library authorities involving volunteers with the Summer Reading Challenge. 5,684 young volunteers aged 12-24 helped in 137 library authorities. This represents a 30% increase on the number involved in 2012. 96% of the young people involved in volunteering said they had gained new skills and experience
I have volunteered for over two years now in Redbridge Libraries and I have enjoyed all aspects of it. I have learnt valuable skills that have helped me in and outside of school and I feel that it is a good opportunity for young people to give back to the community. Saagar, Redbridge
Tackling the UK's literacy problems
Janene Cox, President of The Society of Chief Librarians says "These stupendous Creepy House results are testimony to the enduring relevance and power of libraries' work to inspire children to love reading. We congratulate The Reading Agency and the library staff who have done such an important job over the summer. Research shows that children who enjoy reading do better in life, and that's something the whole of society needs to focus on."
Recent research highlights our literacy problems. A 2013 OECD skills survey showed that England's 16-24 year-olds rank 22nd out of 24 countries in terms of literacy skills. But a 2013 Institute of Education report showed the transformative effect of reading for pleasure.
The Summer Reading Challenge focuses on helping children really enjoy reading. UKLA research shows that taking part helps prevent the summer dip in literacy skills, which is particularly damaging for disadvantaged children. It motivates children to read more independently and often, and inspires boys to read outside the classroom. 44% of participants in this year's Summer Reading Challenge were boys, compared with only 1 in 4 boys who read outside class every day.
Read the full evaluation report and regional breakdown of results. You can also find out more about Summer Reading Challenge volunteering and our pilot with Arts Award Discover.
Watch this video with children talking about taking part in the Tesco Bank Summer Reading Challenge Scotland (from 2'47 to 4'16).
If your child has enjoyed taking part in the 2013 Challenge please consider donating to our Summer Reading Challenge campaign and help us reach more children in 2014. It only costs £3 for three disadvantaged children to take part in the Challenge for free. Please donate £3 to our campaign by texting READ06 £3 to 70070 or by visiting justgiving.com/SummerReadingChallenge.
Children can visit the Summer Reading Challenge website which will be live throughout the year and will host competitions, mini challenges, news, chat and the popular book sorter.
Parents can talk to each other and share medal ceremony photos on our facebook page.