Minister for Culture and Sport John Griffiths A.M and storyteller Michael Harvey have officially launched the Summer Reading Challenge in Wales at Canton Library, Cardiff, Thursday 17 July 2014, 10:30am--12:30pm.
John Griffiths said:
"Reading can be a great source of enjoyment for children. Instilling a passion for reading early on is crucial to help them develop their skills and our libraries play a central role in supporting this. I hope everyone will go along to their local library this summer to take advantage of the free activities and discover some great new books to read and inspire them."
Organised by independent charity The Reading Agency and public libraries, the Challenge is supported in Wales by the Welsh Books Council and the Welsh Government. Now in its 16th year, the Summer Reading Challenge in libraries is the UK's largest reading-for-pleasure programme for primary school aged children. Last year, a record 42,218 children in Wales (42% of them were boys) took up the challenge to read six books or more at their local library last summer; it runs in 100% of local authorities in Wales.
Support from Welsh Government is crucial to the success of the challenge in Wales and Minister for Education and Skills, Huw Lewis said":
"You can never overestimate the importance of reading and I'm absolutely delighted to offer my support to the Summer Reading Challenge in Wales. We want to improve the literacy standards of all children in Wales, but wider than that I want children to enjoy reading in whatever form that takes. From books about facts to fantasy filled fiction if you foster a passion for reading from a young age it stands our young people in good stead for the future."
Every year the Challenge has a new theme and this year it is Mythical Maze, illustrated by the award-winning artist Sarah McIntyre. Children aged between 4 and 12 are encouraged to read six or more books of their choice during the summer holiday, and with posters and stickers (some of them are 'scratch and sniff'!) and other incentives to complete the Challenge, it's a highlight of the holiday for thousands of children. Teachers comment that children who take part return to school as more fluent, confident readers.
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 our Summer Reading Challenge Facebook page.