(© Dave Warren for The Reading Agency. With thanks to Deptford Lounge, Lewisham Library and Information Service.)
Libraries are getting ready to introduce children to an epic adventure that will keep them reading throughout the school summer holidays with Mythical Maze, the 2014 Summer Reading Challenge.
Pass it on!
This year thousands of children will be inspired to share their love of reading by recommending or passing on a book to friends, family and carers, in turn making one of the books they read this summer one that has been recommended to them. The campaign has come out of our consultation with young people and is intended to inspire children to share their reading choices, ignite playground conversations and build confidence in swapping recommendations as they undertake the Summer Reading Challenge.
A host of hugely popular children's authors including Jacqueline Wilson, Eoin Colfer, Cathy Cassidy, Cressida Cowell, Liz Pichon, Rick Riordan, Sarah McIntyre, Anthony Horowitz and Michael Morpurgo are lending their support to 'pass it on' by recording video messages and recommending their favourite children's books on social media in this major drive to get children sharing and celebrating reading.
Kicking off 'pass it on', Cathy Cassidy, Queen of Teens short-listed author, recommends Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli: "Stargirl is one of my favourite books ever... it's all about hope and happiness and love and trust and being different. It's almost perfect, and I love it."
While much-loved author Jacqueline Wilson says: "The book I'd like to pass on is Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell which is a delightfully stylish, original book that is a real page turner."
Adults and young people can get involved too through our #PassABook social media campaign. From 12 July we'll be collecting book recommendations for children and collating the suggestions on our Summer Reading Challenge facebook page so that parents can find new book suggestions for their children this summer.
Reaching readers of all ages
The Summer Reading Challenge reaches children and young people of all ages. For pre-schoolers there is a mini-challenge and for young people (aged 13 to 24) there is the opportunity to volunteer and support younger children taking part. Volunteering provides a quality workplace experience for young people in libraries, inspiring them to think about future careers and increases their employability as they gain useful life skills and confidence. This year it is expected around 8,000 young people will volunteer, representing a 40% uplift from the 5,684 young people who volunteered in libraries in 2013.
Helping prevent a dip in literacy levels
Reading for pleasure has been shown to be pivotal to life chances. Research by UKLA shows the Summer Reading Challenge increases children's enjoyment of reading - read the full report. It builds confidence and independent reading, helping prevent the summer reading dip in children's literacy levels during the long break from school. Teachers often comment that children who take part return to school after the break as more fluent, confident readers. (© Dave Warren for The Reading Agency. With thanks to Deptford Lounge, Lewisham Library and Information Service.)
Sue Wilkinson, our Chief Executive, says: "We know from our own research just how much fun families and children get out of taking part in the Challenge; this year we think it is going to be more exciting than ever. Fantastical creatures from myths and legends have been designed by Sarah McIntyre (pictured above and left) to accompany everyone on their reading journey and SOLUS has sponsored an app to bring these creatures to life in the library. What we hope is that everyone who takes part this summer really will find out that everything changes when we read."
British Library event
On 9 July we held a stakeholders launch event for the Summer Reading Challenge 2014. It took place at the British Library and was attended by authors, publishers, sponsors, funders and other partners who help make the Challenge such a success each year. Scroll through the photos from the evening:
Visit your local library from 12 July (local variation applies) to sign up to the Challenge in England and Wales. You can already sign up in Scotland.
Children can visit the Summer Reading Challenge website to create a profile, chat about books, and get help on what to read next, via the digital Book Sorter which already offers over 300,000 peer to peer children's book recommendations in child-friendly categories.
Download the free mobile app onto their devices which will recognize key Mythical Maze illustrations and trigger audio visual content including videos, games and messages from the mythical creatures.
Join our #PassABook campaign - suggest which books you'd like to pass on to the next generation via twitter or our Summer Reading Challenge Facebook page.