The Reading Agency partners with Science Museum Group for innovation themed Summer Reading Challenge

The Reading Agency has today announced that the theme for this year’s annual Summer Reading Challenge is ‘Gadgeteers’. The Reading Agency is partnering with Science Museum Group to inspire children across the country to feed their imagination over the summer holiday, with a reading challenge focused on science and innovation.

The Summer Reading Challenge reaches over 700,000 children across the UK each year and is delivered in partnership with public libraries. The Challenge continued to reach well over half a million children across the UK in 2021 as lockdowns eased, motivating children to keep reading during a difficult time. Families shared with The Reading Agency the ways that taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge helped their children to enjoy reading more, feel more confident about reading and ‘feel better’ during a tough period. Family use of libraries also increased amongst Challenge participants, with more than 130,000 children joining the library as new members.

Since 1999, the popular Challenge has encouraged children to read for pleasure over the summer holidays reading for pleasure over the summer holidays, building reading skills and confidence and helping to prevent the ‘dip’ in reading skills while children are out of school. This year, it will launch in Northern Ireland and Scotland on 25th June followed by England and Wales on 9th July. By providing fun reading activities, the Challenge will support families and teachers by providing free-to-access recreation and learning resources – all created to keep children inspired to read. The digital Summer Reading Challenge platform will encourage children with limited physical access to the library to take part in the Challenge.

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. Through taking part in the Challenge, with free packs from public libraries or on the children’s website, children will be able to join six fictional ‘Gadgeteers.’ The characters use their curiosity and wonder to understand the science behind a whole range of interests from fashion and technology to cooking and music.

The characters and artwork have been created by children’s writer and illustrator Julian Beresford. Over the summer term, Science Museum Group will be offering opportunities and resources for UK public libraries and primary schools to engage with the theme of this year’s Summer Reading Challenge to spark their imaginations.

Karen Napier, CEO, The Reading Agency, said: “We are really delighted to be partnering with Science Museum Group for this year’s Summer Reading Challenge. We know through our broader work with children, like our Reading Sparks reading and STEM programme, that reading and science go hand-in-hand. We are sure that the ‘Gadgeteers’ will inspire the creativity of children up and down the country to use their innovation and imagination.”

“In our 20th birthday year as a charity, we are delighted to be working once again with public libraries across the four nations. We are hugely grateful for their longstanding support of the Summer Reading Challenge and look forward to continuing to work closely in partnership with them, as well as schools, community groups and parents and carers to inspire the next generation of readers and innovators.”

Susan Raikes, Director of Learning at the Science Museum Group, said: “Reading has such an important role to play in igniting young people’s curiosity about the world around them. The Summer Reading Challenge this year provides a fantastic opportunity to reveal the science, engineering and innovation all around us. At the Science Museum Group, we are delighted that our partnership with The Reading Agency will allow us to reach more future creative thinkers and inspire them with the everyday wonders of imagination and discovery.

For more information, visit

The Reading Agency

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