This weekend (10-13 July), thousands of children and families pledged to use their local library over the summer and help libraries set a new Guinness World Records™ title for Most Pledges Received for a Reading Campaign, as well as celebrating the official launch of the Summer Reading Challenge in England and Wales. We'll find out soon if we've managed to achieve the record - watch this space.
We develop and run the Summer Reading Challenge in partnership with the public library network. Aimed at 4-11 year olds, it's the biggest reading for pleasure programme in the UK with over 800,000 children taking part for fun last summer. Now entering its 17th year, it's become the highlight of the summer for many families and helps them rediscover their local library.
Every year there is a new theme; this year the Summer Reading Challenge has teamed up with Guinness World Records - the global authority in record-breaking achievements and publisher of the annual Guinness World Records™ book - to create Record Breakers. Children sign up at the library and receive a special poster. As they borrow and read at least six library books over the summer, they collect stickers to complete their poster and discover fascinating facts about record breakers as they go.
The record attempt
We called on people of all ages, across the country to pledge to use their local library over the summer and help libraries set the Guinness World Records™ title over the weekend. Libraries collected pledges between Friday 10 and Monday 13 July; Canada Water library in London kicked things off with three classes of local school children pledging and attending special Q&A sessions with Guinness World Records adjudicators. Much-loved children's authors including new children's laureate Chris Riddell, Jacqueline Wilson and Julia Donaldson pledged their support at their local library over the weekend.
Sue Wilkinson, our CEO, says:
"At The Reading Agency we believe that everything changes when we read. The Summer Reading Challenge, developed and delivered in partnership with librarians across the UK, is a fantastic programme which makes reading fun and improves children's reading range, motivation and confidence, and opportunities. This year, the Record Breakers-themed Challenge is all about achieving your personal best, so we want as many people as possible to join us and pledge to use their local library this summer."
Jacqueline Wilson, one of our ambassadors, says:
"When I was a child I'd always rush to the local library at the start of the summer holidays and choose an armful of special books. I was so fanatical about reading I'd whizz through them in a week, and then make a new selection. I'd read and read and read - in the park, on the beach, early in the morning, last thing at night. I still do!
It's lovely that so many children still love reading and are happy to join in the Summer Reading Challenge. I think we'll definitely set a new Guinness World Records™ title for the Most Pledges Received for a Reading Campaign."
About the Challenge
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, inspires them to think about future careers and increases their employability as they gain useful life skills and confidence. Last year over 8,000 young people volunteered. Young volunteers will be helping with the Challenge, supported and funded by the Cabinet Office, as part of Reading Hack, the new young people's programme from The Reading Agency which is currently in its pilot year and kindly funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.
Children taking part can use 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 450,000 peer to peer children's book recommendations in child-friendly categories.
Visit the Summer Reading Challenge website for games, competitions and more information about the Challenge.
Follow the Summer Reading Challenge on Facebook
Find out more about our Summer Reading Challenge partners