The Reading Agency partners with WWF for nature-focused Summer Reading Challenge

This year’s Summer Reading Challenge theme is ‘Wild World Heroes’. To deliver it The Reading Agency has teamed up with WWF to encourage children across the country to engage in fun reading activity focused on environmental issues.

The annual Summer Reading Challenge, which reaches over 700,000 children across the UK each year, will return in June/July 2021. This year, with the help of the new digital platform, the charity will be aiming to increase its impact even further and reach 1 million children. The popular challenge encourages 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. By providing fun reading activities this summer the Challenge will also play a key role in supporting reading catch-up after a difficult year.

This year’s theme – ‘Wild World Heroes’ – will inspire children to explore ways of helping to save the planet. With ideas from WWF, the Challenge focuses on taking action for nature and tackling real-world environmental issues, from plastic pollution and deforestation to wildlife decline and nature loss. Through taking part in the Challenge, with free packs from public libraries or online, children will be able to join six fictional characters – ‘wild heroes’ – to help solve some of these threats, learning about the importance of the environment while helping to restore nature levels in the neighbourhood of ‘Wilderville’.

The characters and landscape will be illustrated by award-winning children’s author and illustrator Heath McKenzie. Over the summer term, WWF will be offering opportunities and resources for UK public libraries and primary schools to engage with the nature theme in the Summer Reading Challenge and to explore some of the most important issues of our time through the power of reading.

Karen Napier, CEO, The Reading Agency, said: “We are really delighted to announce WWF as a partner for this year’s Summer Reading Challenge. We have seen first-hand, via our children’s programmes and our work on the 500 Words writing competition, that climate change and the environment are subjects that children are keen to explore. We hope that this year’s theme of Wild World Heroes, chosen by children and public library colleagues, will help to open up important conversations and inspire children and adults across the country.

“We are immensely grateful to public libraries for their continued and longstanding support of the Summer Reading Challenge – and we look forward to continuing to work closely in partnership with them, as well as schools, school libraries, community groups and parents and carers all across the country to encourage even more children to sign up to the Challenge, via our physical and digital blended model.

Tanya Steele, CEO, WWF, said: “Young people are the future of our planet – and they are some of the most passionate and enthusiastic advocates for our natural world. At WWF, we’re continuously inspired by our young supporters and their efforts to speak up for nature, often in wonderful and creative ways.”

“Children have a huge thirst for knowledge about the environment, and what they can do to tackle the threats to our planet and help nature to thrive. We’re delighted to be partners in this year’s Summer Reading Challenge and hope children across the UK will enjoy exploring life on our planet – the one place we all call home.”

The Summer Reading Challenge will launch online in June this year, with public library launches in June and July. With school life disrupted, this year’s Challenge is more important than ever, helping parents and carers to find family-friendly activities, maintain literacy levels and create a safe space for children to connect with their peers.

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