• Our new survey reveals that 40% of parents and carers feel stress, anxiety or dread when thinking about the summer holidays
• 90% of parents and carers say elements of their routine slip over the summer - one in three (35%) say regular reading with their children takes a hit
• Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the Summer Reading Challenge helps families have fun together for free over the summer holidays
• The Summer Reading Challenge launches on Saturday 13 July in libraries around the country
12 July 2019: A new survey by charity The Reading Agency has revealed that, instead of seeing them as a time for fun, the summer holidays leave 40% of parents and carers with an overriding sense of dread, stress or anxiety. The cost of keeping children entertained is a key concern for parents and carers, with 42% saying they were left broke after the summer holidays and 23% saying they seriously feel the pinch.
Over half of parents/carers (55%) admit they need to fork out an extra £500 - £1,500 for family entertainment during the six-week period, and 8% admitted that they're left with a dent in their wallet of at least £1,500.
Another struggle is maintaining a regular routine, with 90% of parents/carers reporting things that 'slip' over the summer. Bedtimes, healthy eating and regular reading were the top activities going out of the window over summer, with over one in three saying that regular reading with their children slips.
The Summer Reading Challenge is here to help
Launching on 13 July in libraries across the country, the Summer Reading Challenge is here to help. Free and fun, the Challenge and activities in libraries are designed to help children discover the joy of reading and develop confidence, all of which help them maintain their reading skills in the long break from school.
This year, to mark the Challenge's 20th anniversary, The Reading Agency and libraries are calling on families to make space for reading over the summer by setting aside time each day to read together.
Make Space for Reading this summer
Commenting on the survey results, Sue Wilkinson, CEO of The Reading Agency said:
"Summer holidays are meant to be fun - but this survey shows that worries about money and how to keep children occupied, as well as how to keep them learning, add pressure for many parents and carers. The Summer Reading Challenge is a fun, free activity for children which provides access to books and encourages reading for pleasure.
Over the past 20 years, The Reading Agency and libraries have seen first-hand the benefits that the Challenge can offer: from bringing families together to improving children's confidence and helping them build empathy, reading has so many benefits, which is why we are encouraging families to make space for reading this summer. Reading as a family is also a particularly good way to generate conversation and even explore difficult issues."
Inspired by the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, this year's Summer Reading Challenge theme is Space Chase. Libraries across the country are planning an exciting summer of events, with some creating their own planetariums or VR experiences.
Isobel Hunter, Chief Executive of Libraries Connected, said:
"The Summer Reading Challenge is the perfect way to ease the pressures experienced by parents across the UK over the summer. Public libraries are great at making reading fun and research shows children who use libraries are twice as likely to be above average readers. We're really excited to be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Challenge, and hope this year's campaign will help families see just how important it is to make space for reading."
You can join the Summer Reading Challenge throughout the summer - just go to your local library!
You can find book recommendations from other children as well as fun activities on the Summer Reading Challenge website
We are calling for parents and carers to make #SpaceforReading this #SummerReadingChallenge. Join the campaign by submitting a photo of your own reading den with #SpaceForReading and @readingagency via social media and be in with the chance of winning a special prize.