We are happy to announce that a total of 804,647 children participated in this year's Summer Reading Challenge, with a record number of children under 4 and volunteers aged 12-24 getting involved.
In the UK, 786,547 children took part in the Summer Reading Challenge with 62,418 of them joining the library as new members as a result. Based on figures supplied by UK libraries, we estimate there were over 18,000,000 children's issues through libraries over the summer.
The 2015 Challenge, called 'Record Breakers' and run in partnership with Guinness World Records, inspired 763,821 children aged 4-11 throughout the UK to take part at their local library. In addition 22,726 under 4s took part using the specially produced Summer Reading Challenge pre-school material, an increase of 55.4% from 2014 (14,621). Internationally the Challenge reached a further 18,100 children who participated through the British Council and in the Republic of Ireland.
A record number of young volunteers
The Summer Reading Challenge helps libraries deliver their local authority corporate aims through widening engagement and strategic partnerships. As the UK's leading reading for pleasure programme for primary aged children, it invites children to read six books during the summer holidays and runs in 99% of local authorities every summer.
The Summer Reading Challenge also offers young people aged 12-24 the opportunity to volunteer. The volunteers support the children taking part while increasing their employability as they gain useful life skills and confidence. This year a record 9,366 volunteers got involved at their local library, compared with 8,126 in 2014. In England the 2015 Summer Reading Challenge volunteering was generously funded by the Social Action Fund, managed by The Social Investment Business, on behalf of the cabinet office.
"We have been thrilled to see the impact of young volunteers"
Sue Wilkinson, Chief Executive of The Reading Agency, says:
"It was brilliant to see photos and hear stories from all over the UK describing the fun families and children have had doing the Summer Reading Challenge in public libraries this summer. We have also been thrilled to see the impact the young volunteers who have been working with library staff to support the Challenge have had. As well as developing their own skills they have played a great role in sharing their enjoyment of reading and in inspiring children to read more. The Summer Reading Challenge has been fantastic again this year and I hope you feel as proud as we do about this. Thank you."
Ciara Eastell, President of Society of Chief Librarians, says:
"Year on year more children get a burst of reading through the Summer Reading Challenge, thanks to dedicated library staff and volunteers and the strong work of The Reading Agency. We see this enthusiasm for reading carried throughout the school year, as children and their parents and carers continue to use libraries and borrow books. We are all proud of this important work and we look forward to the Summer Reading Challenge 2016."
Inspiring children to read more
The Summer Reading Challenge motivates children to read more independently and often, and inspires boys to read outside the classroom. As well as ensuring school readiness, the Summer Reading Challenge encourages children who are already in school to continue reading over the long summer break.
The Challenge offers a rich variety of free creative events, helping children to build their confidence in social interaction and strengthen family bonds. This year, through the Challenge, libraries gave 446,705 children and their families the opportunity to attend 16,127 high-quality events.
"I've enjoyed reading all the different books and spending time at the library". Child, Derby
"Summer Reading Challenge is an excellent way to encourage children to keep reading and broaden their reading choices. Library staff at my local library put lots of effort in encouraging and support to all the children." Parent, West Lindsey
22,726 under 4s were able to take part in this year's Summer Reading Challenge. Parents and carers who regularly share books with their young children are helping their child's speech and language development, which in turn sets their children up for the best start in their school lives .
Next year's theme
Today, we also announce the theme of the Summer Reading Challenge for 2016 - THE BIG FRIENDLY READ - delivered in collaboration with The Roald Dahl literary Estate as part next year's Roald Dahl 100 celebrations.
The Big Friendly Read, Summer Reading Challenge 2016 will feature some of Roald Dahl's best-loved characters and the amazing artwork of his principal illustrator, Sir Quentin Blake. It will encourage reading on a giant scale. Each child's collector's folder will enhance their reading experiences by highlighting themes such as invention, mischief and friendship explored in Roald Dahl's most famous books and encourage them to expand their own reading by exploring similar themes, fantastic facts, characters and stories across the best contemporary children's writing.
Children's publishers are now invited to submit books to The Reading Agency for possible inclusion for The Big Friendly Read Summer Reading Challenge 2016 collection.
You can download the full national results, along with the regional breakdown from our resources area.
Support our campaign to help us start even more children on their #ReadingJourney
Find out how to set up a Chatterbooks children's reading group at your school or library