The Summer Reading Challenge encourages children aged 4 to 11 to read six library books during the long summer holiday.
Children's reading can 'dip' during the summer holidays if they don't have regular access to books and encouragement to read for pleasure. The annual Summer Reading Challenge helps get three quarters of a million children into libraries each year to keep up their reading skills and confidence. The Challenge celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.
How it works
Children can read whatever they like - fiction, fact books, poetry, joke books, picture books, audio books - just as long as they are borrowed from the library.
Children receive special rewards each time they finish a book and there's a certificate for everyone who completes the Challenge.
The Summer Reading Challenge is open to all primary school aged children and is designed for all reading abilities. Children can sign up for free at a participating library during the summer holidays.
Schools work with local libraries and give out information to encourage children to take part, and most libraries run Summer Reading Challenge linked early years activity for pre-schoolers.
Throughout the Summer Reading Challenge, library staff and teenage and adult volunteers support children, helping them to discover new authors and explore a wide range of different types of books.
There is a different Summer Reading Challenge theme each year.
The Summer Reading Challenge 2019 theme is Space Chase, an out-of-this-world adventure inspired by the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing.
Children taking part in the Challenge will join our super space family, The Rockets, for a thrilling mission to track down books nabbed by mischievous aliens!
Space Chase features bespoke artwork from top children's illustrator, Adam Stower, and is a celebration of adventure, exploration, reading and fun!
The Summer Reading Challenge launched in libraries in Scotland on Saturday 22 June 2019.
The Challenge launched in libraries in England and Wales on Saturday 13 July 2019.
The Reading Agency does not set an official end date for the Summer Reading Challenge.
Local variations will apply, so check with your local library service to find out when the Challenge will begin and end in your area.
RNIB Library 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.
For children wanting to read six books to complete the Challenge, RNIB Library has thousands of children's titles in audio, braille and Giant Print formats. Audio books can be sent on DAISY CD, memory stick or downloaded via www.rniboverdrive.com. Their Kids and Teen page has a list of some of their most popular titles if you're not sure what to read next.
Listen to Lynne Livingston explain how children can access books for the Summer Reading Challenge in audio, braille and Giant Print formats, and hear extracts from the Space Chase book collection read aloud on the RNIB's Read On show here.
"The Summer Reading Challenge is about reading for the pleasure of reading. Stories are important because they nourish us and broaden our thinking. Librarians and all those involved in the huge success of the Summer Reading Challenge know how important this is and seek to change lives one book at a time."
"The Summer Reading Challenge is a wonderful initiative - what could be better than getting our children into libraries? I can't recommend it highly enough. My son has always been a listener but now he's also a reader."
"I find the Summer Reading Challenge really fun - my brother and I see it as a challenge and we work against each other to see who could read the six books the fastest."
Summer Reading Challenge facts
Research shows that taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge can help children keep up their reading skills during the long summer holiday
Reading for pleasure is more important to children’s successes than education or social class. The Summer Reading Challenge gets three quarters of a million children into libraries to keep up their reading skills and confidence during the long holidays while Chatterbooks reading groups help build a lifelong reading habit. Because everything changes when we read.