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Are You Taking Advantage of the Summer Reading Challenge?

Regular readers of the Mentor Education blog will know how much we love reading. The benefits of reading for students cannot be overstated, in fact: as well as improving cognitive function, recall, vocabulary, spelling and more, it also boosts creativity and overall wellbeing. With that in mind, we were delighted to read about the UK Summer Reading Challenge!

summer reading challenge infographic

The Summer Reading Challenge has been designed for children between the ages of four and eleven, and aims to encourage them to keep up with their reading during the long summer holiday. The length of the summer holiday means that it’s easy for books to be set aside, particularly if children don’t have access to books outside of school.

Fortunately, many London libraries take part in the challenge, providing incentives for children to keep reading and offering a wide range of books so that there’s something to take every student’s fancy. Nearly 700,000 children took part in the Summer Reading Challenge in 2018 – and this is set to be another bumper year!

How Does the Summer Reading Challenge Work?

The great news is that children can read anything they like whilst participating in the challenge – be that picture books, non-fiction books, or even audio books. The RNIB also offers thousands of titles in audio, braille and Giant Print formats. The only rules are that the books must be borrowed from a participating library (or ordered from RNIB Library), and that each participant must try and read at least six books over the holiday. Each time they finish a book they receive a reward, and, once they’ve completed the Challenge, they’ll get a certificate to celebrate their achievement.

The Summer Reading Challenge is open to all UK primary school children across the country. In Scotland, most libraries launched the challenge in June; in England and Wales, the Challenge officially launched on the 13th July. Children who wish to join in need to sign up at a participating library.

But don’t forget: the Summer Reading Challenge isn’t only about reading lots of books. It’s also about broadening horizons and giving young readers the chance to explore different kinds of literature. With that in mind, lots of host libraries offer additional opportunities – linked activities – and enlist the help of library staff and volunteers to recommend new books to budding bookworms.

What’s the Theme?

The Summer Reading Challenge has a different theme every year. This year, in celebration of the ‘heights’ reached during the Challenge since it launched 20 years ago, the theme will be Space Chase: an ‘out-of-this-world adventure inspired by the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing’.

Featuring bespoke artwork from acclaimed illustrator Adam Stower, Space Chase gives children the chance to be part of the Challenge’s ‘super space family, the Rockets’ and get involved with their very own ‘mission’ to find books that have been stolen by crafty aliens!

What Are the Benefits?

Reading is such a brilliant activity for young students. We love initiatives like the Summer Reading Challenge because – apart from anything else – it makes the act of reading into a competitive, thrilling game. What could be more fun?!

Other benefits include:

  • Establishing a regular, enjoyable activity that the whole family can take part in. Initiate regular conversations about the books you are all reading and encourage healthy competition between different members of the family: who will be the first to finish their six books?
  • Supporting and nurturing learning outside of school – and ensuring skills do not ‘dip’ during the holidays.
  • Championing the joy of reading.
  • Introducing children to different types of literature.
  • Supporting your local library and wider community.
  • Ensuring that your child or student will return to school in September in a state of anticipation and readiness, having honed their reading capabilities over the holidays.

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