The Reading Agency announced today (Tuesday 12 May) that the Summer Reading Challenge will return for 2020 with a new website, where children aged 4 - 11 can take part in the Challenge and a "Let's Get Silly" virtual launch event that the whole family can enjoy.
With the disruption caused by COVID-19 and the impact of social distancing on schools and public libraries, the all-new digital Summer Reading Challenge with its Silly Squad theme will launch earlier than usual to keep children reading over the summer and support parents and carers with children already at home. This year it will be running from June to September 2020. A whole host of virtual (super silly!) curated events with guest celebrities and authors will take place on Friday 5 June to mark the launch of the new digital Challenge. The website will be free to access, featuring games, quizzes and digital and downloadable activities to incentivise and encourage children and their families to take part in the Challenge at home. Although library buildings are closed, libraries will also continue to deliver the Challenge through virtual services and e-lending platforms.
The Summer Reading Challenge encourages children aged 4-11 to read during the long summer holiday with research showing that children's reading can 'dip' severely during the summer if they do not have regular access to books. With school life disrupted and many children missing the company of their friends, this year's Summer Reading Challenge will be all the more vital as a way of helping parents and carers find fun, family-friendly activities, maintain literacy levels and create a safe space for children to connect with their peers.
This year's theme will also offer families a chance to have fun and just "GET SILLY!", with children being encouraged to read anything that makes them happy - whether it be a comic, joke book, poetry, fiction or non-fiction, in digital or print format, from e-book lending through the public library service or from what they already have at home, with the Summer Reading Challenge official book collection as a guide.
Karen Napier, CEO of The Reading Agency commented: "We're hugely excited to share our new digital Summer Reading Challenge with families across the country this year. The new digital offering will ensure that families and libraries can still take part in the Challenge and help us realise our mission of tacking life's big challenges through the proven power of reading. We are working closely with partners to distribute physical reading materials to those who cannot access digital and working with our library partners to deliver a blended digital and physical model when they reopen. In these difficult times it's more important than ever that families find ways to have fun and be silly together, while ensuring that children receive the support they need to maintain and build their literacy skills and remain connected with their peers."
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