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The Big Friendly Read

28th June 2016
Posted by Radio Club


Regular visitors to libraries will know about the annual Summer Reading Challenge, which has been running since 1999, and this year it’s back, and with a brand new theme: The Big Friendly Read, celebrating one hundred years since the birth of Roald Dahl.

But what is the Challenge all about?

Over the summer, children aged 4-11 years old will be asked to read six library books of their choice. They could be fiction, non-fiction, joke books, any kind of book! When they sign up, children will receive a Big Friendly Read collector folder. For each book read in this year’s Challenge, there is a card to collect with a Quentin Blake illustration that goes in the collector folder, plus there’s extra goodies along the way for children to collecting, including wristbands, key rings and lanyards. Once you’ve finished the challenge, a medal is presented to you in library and often, the certificate will be presented in school when the new term begins.

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And under-4s haven’t been forgotten about either; many libraries across the UK will offer a mini challenge designed for those not quite old enough for the main challenge just yet!

The Summer Reading Challenge has a huge impact on participants every year. Last year there was over 800,000 participants nationally, with over 62,400 registering as new members of the library. Just under 9,400 young people volunteered nationally last year too, with 82% reporting it improved their confidence and skills.

There’s plenty of reasons to get involved in 2016, but if you’re stuck for books to read for the Challenge, this year’s theme has inspired several book collections for participants, which can be found on the Reading Agency website here.

Want to sign up? Visit your local library in Essex, Southend or Thurrock today and speak to a librarian who can give you some information and get you signed up when the Challenge begins on the 16th July!

Photos © Dale Cherry 2016 for The Reading Agency. With thanks to Crawley Library, West Sussex County Council