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 700,000 children and their families into libraries each year to keep up their reading skills and confidence.
In 2019 the Challenge celebrated its 20th anniversary. Read our case studies from librarians, parents, volunteers and participants and find out more about the impact of the Challenge here.
How the Summer Reading Challenge works
Children can read whatever they like - fiction, fact books, poetry, joke books, picture books, graphic novels, audio books, eBooks - just as long as the books 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.
Throughout the Challenge, library staff and teenage and adult volunteers support children, helping them to explore a wide range of different types of books and enjoy a range of creative activities and events.
The Summer Reading Challenge 2020
The Summer Reading Challenge 2020 will be called Silly Squad, and will be a celebration of funny books, happiness and laughter. Award-winning children's author and illustrator Laura Ellen Anderson will be creating bespoke artwork for the 2020 Challenge.
The Summer Reading Challenge will launch in libraries in Scotland on Saturday 20 June 2020.
The Challenge will launch in libraries in England and Wales on Saturday 11 July 2020.
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.
Space Chase, the Summer Reading Challenge 2019, was inspired by the 50th anniversary of the moon landing and featured bespoke artwork from top children's author and illustrator, Adam Stower. A total of 722,731 children took part across the UK and in 21 countries overseas through our partnership with the British Council; a 2.64% increase on the previous year's participation. Find out more about the reach and impact of the Challenge in our annual report, available here.
Teachers can find more information about getting involved in the Summer Reading Challenge on our schools page here: Information for schools
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.
"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.