Libraries across Devon and Torbay are calling for children to sign up to the Silly Squad Summer Challenge and read six books this summer as part of the 2020 Summer Reading Challenge.
The Summer Reading Challenge will run from Saturday 4th July to Saturday 5th September. The online launch event will be on Saturday 4th July, a specially commissioned event featuring Rob Pudner of Entertainingly Different. Other events include weekly online Bounce & Rhyme, weekly digital craft sessions, Library Llama Live online event with Sidmouth Library, Really Wild Learning in Torbay, author events with Claire Helen Welsh and Sarah McIntyre. For full events listings visit devonlibraries.org.uk and torbaylibraries.org.uk.
The Summer Reading Challenge, presented by The Reading Agency, is delivered in partnership with Libraries Unlimited and funded by Arts Council England. The Challenge encourages children aged 4 to 11 to enjoy the benefits of reading for pleasure over the summer holidays, providing lots of fun as well as preventing the summer reading ‘dip’.
With the disruption caused by Covid-19 and the impact of social distancing on schools and libraries, the 2020 Challenge will look slightly different this year. The challenge is launched in a new digital format designed to keep children engaged and interested in reading. It will support parents and carers with children at home, offer schools exciting ways to animate remote learning, and provide great content for those back in the classroom.
Last year the Challenge motivated 14,000 children in Devon and Torbay to keep reading to build their skills and conﬁdence.
Alex Kittow, Chief Executive of Libraries Unlimited, the charity that runs all 54 libraries said “The Summer Reading Challenge is a vital project that we run each year. Last year 14,000 children took part in the Challenge, our highest number ever. Due to the pandemic, this year has been challenging for families so we want to ensure our offer reaches as many children as possible. Our libraries have provided support for our communities during lockdown and we do hope we can extend this support over the summer for families. This is a free challenge, open to all, so do make sure your children sign up.”
This year, the Summer Reading Challenge’s Silly Squad will celebrate funny books, happiness and laughter. Children taking part in the Challenge will join the Silly Squad, an adventurous team of animals who love to have a laugh and get stuck into all sorts of funny books!
The 2020 Challenge features bespoke artwork from award-winning children’s author and illustrator Laura Ellen Anderson (Amelia Fang; Evil Emperor Penguin; I Don’t Want Curly Hair).
Although Devon and Torbay Libraries are currently on a phased return to physical buildings, libraries will continue to deliver the Challenge through virtual services and the digital lending catalogue. Libraries will run a summer season of online events and as libraries reopen families will be able to use the Choose & Collect book service if they wish to access physical books during this challenge.
The Summer Reading Challenge website is free to access and features games, quizzes and downloadable activities that encourage children to take part in reading related activities.
Children who complete the Challenge by reading at least six books over the summer, will be able to download a certificate. Once our libraries have re-opened, children will be able to bring their certificate to their local library to claim a special Silly Squad medal as a reward for their achievement.
Visit Devon Libraries and Torbay Libraries websites to find out how you can access eBooks and audiobooks for free so that you can complete the Challenge at home.
With the kind support of Library Friends Groups, Libraries Unlimited has been able to commission the Summer Reading Challenge programme of online events and activities.
Kate Mackenzie, Service Development Manager “Last year we had the busiest Summer Reading Challenge reaching thousands of children. Although our physical buildings are on a phased return, we didn’t want Covid-19 to dramatically affect the Summer Reading Challenge at a time when it is most needed. It’s wonderful that our Friends Groups have supported us this year to help us reach children online and give access to the Challenge from home.”
Kate added “With school life disrupted and many children missing the company of their friends, this year’s fun-filled 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.”
Libraries Unlimited do acknowledge that not all families will have access to the website so on the phased return to physical libraries they are keen to ensure Summer Reading Challenge physical materials are available to those children that need them the most. Contact your local library to arrange collection of books over the summer.
Register for the Summer Reading Challenge at summerreadingchallenge.org.uk.
Libraries Unlimited is the charity responsible for running Devon and Torbay Libraries. Libraries Unlimited believes in the unlimited potential of library services to make a positive difference to people’s lives and communities through a shared love of reading and access to high quality information, facilities and events.
For more details about Libraries Unlimited, visit librariesunlimited.org.uk or search /Libraries Unlimited on Facebook or @LibrariesUnLtd on Twitter.