The Summer Reading Challenge 2020
The Summer Reading Challenge is a free reading for pleasure programme designed for children between the ages of 4 and 11.
In 2019, 722,731 children took part in libraries across the UK and in 21 countries internationally.
Usually, the Challenge takes place in libraries across the country. This year, with the disruption caused by COVID-19 and the impact of social distancing on schools and public libraries, the all-new digital Summer Reading Challenge is launching earlier than usual. This is to keep children reading over what has become a much longer summer period due to the pandemic, and support parents and carers with children at home.
The theme for the Challenge is "Silly Squad"- a celebration of funny books, happiness and laughter, featuring bespoke artwork from award-winning children's author and illustrator, Laura Ellen Anderson.
We launched the Challenge this year on Friday 5 June with a whole host of virtual events with guest celebrities and authors to mark the launch of the digital Challenge. The website is free to access and a place for children to rate and review their books and work towards their reading goal. It will also feature video content, games, quizzes and digital and downloadable activities to incentivise and encourage children and their families to take part in the Challenge at home.
It's free, local and inclusive
- The Summer Reading Challenge is inclusive of all primary school aged children and all stages of reading development
- It's free to take part - families can sign up by visiting the Summer Reading Challenge website and can access e-books and audio books for free via their local library service until the libraries open fully.
- RNIB Library also makes a selection of Summer Reading Challenge books available in accessible formats for blind or partially sighted children, and for children with a print disability who cannot read standard print
- Children set a personal reading goal at the beginning of their Challenge and receive digital incentives along the way when they log their books on the website to encourage them. There's a digital certificate for everyone who finishes the Challenge
- We understand that not all families will have access to digital, which is why we are working hard with our partners including public libraries and publishers to ensure our Summer Reading Challenge physical materials will get into the hands of children who need them most. We will provide further information on this as we learn more about the ease of lockdown and the opening of public spaces and distribution opportunities
How do schools benefit?
By getting involved in the Summer Reading Challenge, your school can:
- Enhance and support its reading initiatives and involve parents and the wider community
- Celebrate the joy of reading whilst ensuring all children are able to read well by the age of 11
- Continue to support pupils' learning during the holidays
- Help to prevent the trend for children's reading skills to dip over the holidays
- Ensure your pupils return in the autumn term ready for a great start to the new academic year
How schools can get involved?
- Create a piece of class artwork with all children creating a piece of art of themselves doing something silly like our Silly Squad!
- Read an extract from your favourite funny book or hilarious poem to your class or on social media. You can find out information about this in our Teachers' Toolkit
- Share The Silly Squad book collection with your pupils so they can get some ideas of funny books to read in the Challenge
- Direct children to the Book Sorter on the Summer Reading Challenge website. Nearly a million books have been added by children on the Book Sorter so they can find out what books children have recommended and use the sorter to receive their own recommendations
- Visit our School Zone to find downloadable activities and ideas to use with your school throughout the Challenge
- Send all of your students to the Summer Reading Challenge website to join the 2020 Silly Squad
- Inform parents and support those who might find it harder to take part or engage with library services, by sharing our Home Zone
- Celebrate the achievements of pupils who participate in the Challenge when they return to school in the autumn
Find out more about the impact of the Summer Reading Challenge through our latest case studies and our 2019 participation report
Our new research project, funded by Arts Council England, will evaluate the impact of the Summer Reading Challenge on children's progress and attitudes towards books and reading. Participating schools will be eligible for a range of rewards and prizes and receive an analysis of their test data for school use. Find out more and see how your school can get involved here.
Parents and supporters of the Summer Reading Challenge can find more news and our latest children's reader development offers on our Facebook page and on the Home Zone.
If you would like more information about the Summer Reading Challenge please get in touch.
We also co-ordinate a national network of reading groups for children called Chatterbooks.
These run throughout the year and are mostly based in local libraries and schools. You can find out more by signing up to our Chatterbooks newsletter.
Find out more about the resources available for you to set up your own children's reading group.
Visit our Shop to order a Chatterbooks group leader toolkit and to see our latest reading group offers. You can also find hundreds of free resources including reading group guides and activity packs on our Resources page.
If you would like more information about Chatterbooks please get in touch
Reading Well for children
Reading Well for children provides quality-assured information, stories and advice to support children's mental health and wellbeing. Books have been chosen and recommended by leading health professionals and co-produced with children and families.
The booklist is targeted at children in Key Stage 2 (aged 7-11), but includes titles aimed at a wide range of reading levels to support less confident readers, and to encourage children to read together with their siblings and carers.
Find out more about the scheme and access supporting resources here.