The Reading Agency and National Literacy Trust team up to get children in Islington reading this summer

The Reading Agency and National Literacy Trust have today announced a programme of summer activity delivered with Islington Library Service, Islington School Improvement Service and Islington Education Library Service as part of their joint Get Islington Reading Initiative.

Get Islington Reading is a three-year project which is generously funded by the Charity of Sir Richard Whittington to develop a community of happy, confident readers across the borough, building on the work of local network Islington Reads. Get Islington Reading supports families of children aged 9-14, inspiring young people to keep reading in the transition between primary and secondary school when reading for pleasure can often drop off.

Highlights across the borough include the launch of this year’s Summer Reading Challenge from The Reading Agency, with a science and innovation focus and the National Literacy Trust’s Set Sail on a Story Trail based on Sita Brahmachari’s book When Secrets Set Sail.

The Reading Agency and Science Museum Group launch this year’s ‘Gadgeteers’ Summer Reading Challenge on 9th July
The annual Summer Reading Challenge will be back in libraries across Islington this summer. This year’s theme – ‘Gadgeteers’ – will spark children’s curiosity about the world around them. With resources and activities from the Science Museum Group, the Challenge focuses on inspiring children to see the science and innovation behind everyday objects, showing that reading and science are for everyone. The Challenge and the accompanying book collection will show that imagination can unlock endless possibilities, and the library is where this starts.

Mental health and wellbeing
Available in public libraries across Islington, The Reading Agency’s Reading Well for children provides quality-assured information, stories and advice to support children’s mental health and wellbeing. The books are chosen and recommended by leading health professionals and co-produced with children and families.

Celebrate World Environment Day with Islington Libraries on 5th June
Library staff will be reading picture books focused on the climate crisis and other environmental issues at their under-fives and nursery sessions, to raise awareness in an age-appropriate way throughout June. Community Park Rangers will be attending library Rhyme Time’s to host bug making craft sessions in the run up, too. Just one book can motivate a child to choose a certain path, encourage them to make important decisions and positively influence their behaviour or attitudes.

Join in Empathy Day with Islington Libraries on 9th June
Little Angel Theatre are joining forces with Islington Libraries to celebrate Empathy Day with a performance from their Kindness Library at West Library.

Children can also check out their Empathy Day booklist and pick titles for this theme. Reading empathy-boosting stories and poems can help to challenge prejudice and build connections between us all. The booklist can be found here:

Mark Refugee Week with Get Islington Reading on 20th – 26th June
This year, Get Islington Reading is inviting children to create their own ‘wish’ bubbles about their lives, friends, community and world, inspired by Sita Brahmachari’s latest book When Shadows Fall.

Through journalling, poetry and the lives of Kai, Orla and Zak, children are encouraged to reflect on the power of dreaming big, expressing themselves and the healing power of art.

Available on the National Literacy Trust website, Facebook and through schools, the pre-recorded workshops and activities can be completed at your leisure to encourage children to celebrate their identity, build empathy, and reflect on the world around them during Refugee Week and beyond.

Pay tribute to Windrush Day with Islington Libraries on 22nd June
Big Foot Arts Education is marking Windrush Day with a spoken word event, for invited primary school children, in partnership with Islington Libraries, at Finsbury Library. Through the story of one passenger on board the Empire Windrush, it tells the tale of one person embarking on the voyage of a lifetime. Little Angel Theatre will also deliver a paper weaving workshop to an invited Primary School class at N4 Library, using the theme of healing.

The picture book Coming to England by Floella Benjamin will be read at all Islington Libraries Under 5 and nursery sessions, while a mini display celebrating Andrea Levy will be hosted at their Central Library. Find out more here at @Islingtonlibs on Twitter.

Celebrate Pride Month with author events and scrapbooks
The National Literacy Trust is marking Pride Month with virtual author events, printed resources and an interactive booklist – this year with the theme of Pride Through The Generations – inspiring KS1-3 children to celebrate their identity and learn about LGBTQ+ people who made history. Author Ben Dean, author of Me, My Dad and The End of the Rainbow, will be leading a creative workshop for Key Stage 2 event on June 13.

Schools and families will also be able to access worksheets, for each Key Stage, which cover the Pride flag, families, gender stereotypes, identity and defining words – with an encouragement to reimagine Pride in your hometown. Meanwhile teachers will get access to session plans to accompany the topics. Head to the National Literacy Trust website, Facebook or Instagram for resources, updates and how to sign up to events.

Take part in National Literacy Trust’s ‘set sail on a story trail’ during the summer holidays
Get Islington Reading is hosting a free story trail, based on Sita Brahmachari’s book When Secrets Set Sail, which features bickering ghosts, a quest and a race against time through the streets of London. Follow the trail of clues, like Usha, Imtiaz and Cosmo in When Secrets Set Sail, and discover the hidden secrets of Islington.

Starting at Finsbury Library, children will be invited to head off on an adventure around the borough and winding back to the Lewis Carrol Children’s Library. Taking just 45 minutes, children will explore local cultural venues and discover Islington’s history – including Islington Museum and London Canal Museum – boosting their sense of pride in their area. Younger children can take part in a shorter 20-minute trail and both will be available on the National Literacy Trust website.

Karen Napier, CEO, The Reading Agency said: “Get Islington Reading provides new ways for young people to engage with the joys of reading at a crucial age where reading for pleasure often drops off. We know how important reading is for confidence and social connection to others, and hope that this programme of summer activity from The Reading Agency and National Literacy Trust will inspire children in Islington to embrace a life-long reading journey.”

Jasmine Tucker, Project Manager of Get Islington Reading, said: “We’re so excited to kick off such a jam-packed summer of activity to support children’s reading over summer.

“These activities will help to improve children’s literacy and communication skills, sense of wellbeing and increase their understanding of complex issues and how to express themselves.

“We want to say a huge thank you to Islington Council Library Service, Islington School Improvement Service and Islington Education Library Service, and The Reading Agency for supporting our work and helping us get it into the hands of the children and schools who need it most. We hope these activities inspire parents to help take an active role in supporting their child’s literacy during the summer months.”

Follow the latest developments on social media:

@ReadingAgency @Literacy_Trust


The Reading Agency

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