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Summer Reading Challenge 2020 launches today

Lansio Sialens Ddarllen yr Haf 2020 heddiw

The Summer Reading Challenge will be launched in Wales today by the Education Minister and the Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism.

The annual Challenge aims to get children between the ages of 4 and 11 to read six books over the summer holidays.

This year’s Challenge sees a shift to a new bilingual digital platform, supported by library e-lending services, online events and links to existing digital resources. The challenge includes both English and Welsh-medium books.

The theme of the Challenge this year is ‘Silly Squad’ and 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!” 

Last year, more than 37,000 children from across Wales took part in the Challenge. Over 3,000 children joined libraries as new members, and 33,000 children took part in library events.

The Education Minister, Kirsty Williams, said:

“As a book lover myself, I know what a great pleasure it is to read over the holidays.

 “Each year, thousands of children join libraries because of the Summer Reading Challenge, which is a really good way to develop reading skills, discover new authors and gain a lifelong passion for books.”

The Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Dafydd Elis-Thomas, said:

 “I’m really pleased the Welsh Government can support libraries with this year’s Challenge.  The scheme has become an annual event for many children, who look forward to taking part every year.

“I’d like to thank all of the library staff involved in making the Summer Reading Challenge such a success in Wales.”

Nicola Pitman Chair of the Society of Chief Librarians Wales, said: 

"Libraries in Wales now have their biggest ever range of eBooks, comics and magazines to download, and this year’s Summer Reading Challenge is set to really help young readers and parents maximise opportunities to engage with fun topics and stories.

“Click & Collect services are also coming into place across the country to help access library books safely during this time. With a new-look website offering lots of great resources, ideas and incentives, we love how easy it is to sign up online and get started. We’re looking forward to everyone getting silly and joining the Summer Reading Challenge squad.”

Karen Napier, Chief Executive Officer of The Reading Agency, said:

"We’re thrilled to be developing a bilingual Welsh/ English Summer Reading Challenge digital platform, which will be ready for families to enjoy from mid-July.

“The Reading Agency are committed to ensuring the proven power of reading is accessible for all. I’m looking forward to public libraries and families in Wales taking part in the Challenge and having a seriously silly summer!"

Chief Executive of the Books Council of Wales, Helgard Krause, said:

 “Nurturing and encouraging reading is more important at this time than ever before. Research clearly shows that picking up a book is not only good for our mental health and wellbeing - it also helps to strengthen and reinforce children's language and educational skills. Good luck and enjoyment to everyone involved in this year's Summer Reading Challenge.”

Further information can be found on the Summer Reading Challenge website:

Notes to editors

2019 Summer Reading Challenge in Libraries across Wales

  • 37,469 children took part in Wales
  • 2,563 of these were under 4 and took part with special pre-school materials
  • 23,174 children completed the challenge by reading at least 6 library books (62%)
  • Only 1 in 4 boys read outside of class every day. 45% of challenge participants were boys
  • 3,240 children joined the library as new members
  • 33,240 children attended a variety of library events

In Wales, the Books Council of Wales supports the Summer Reading Challenge through direct sponsorship from the Welsh Government.

The Summer Reading Challenge is run in partnership between The Reading Agency and Libraries Connected. Children’s reading can ‘dip’ during the long summer holidays. The Challenge helps get over 700,000 children into libraries each year to keep up their reading skills and confidence, encouraging children aged 4 to 11 to read six books during the long summer holiday.

About The Reading Agency 

The Reading Agency is a national charity that tackles life’s big challenges through the proven power of reading. They work closely with partners to develop and deliver programmes for people of all ages and backgrounds. The Reading Agency is funded by Arts Council England. 

Libraries Connected is a membership organisation, representing heads of library services in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. They take a leading role in the development of public libraries through advocating for the power of libraries, sharing best practice and leading the debate on the future of the public library service.