Summer Reading Challenge

The Space Chase Summer Reading Challenge starts on Saturday 13 July and runs until Saturday 7 September. We invite all 4 to 11 year olds to join the celebration.

Join in with the Summer Reading Challenge

The Summer Reading Challenge theme for 2019 is Space Chase, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing. Space Chase will take children on an out-of-this world adventure, as they join our futuristic family, The Rockets, for a special mission celebrating reading, exploration, creativity and endeavour.

Why should I join in?

Studies have shown that children’s reading can ‘dip’ through the long summer holidays if they don’t have regular access to books and are encouraged to read for pleasure. The annual Summer Reading Challenge aims to get children reading for enjoyment and promote the use of the fabulous resource that is their local library.

The Summer Reading Challenge encourages children to visit their local libraries and inspires them to read for pleasure. It combines free access to books with fun social activities and a creative online element. At the heart of the challenge is children choosing and sharing any books - in any format - that they like. Novels, fact books, picture books, graphic novels, joke books, e-books and audiobooks all count, as long as they are borrowed from the library.

How do I join in?

Just pop along to your local library from 13 July and sign up. If you don’t have a library card you can become a member on the day or anytime before. You don’t need to bring any identification, but under 16s will need their parent or carer's permission. Once you have a library card you can start borrowing straight away and access a wonderful world of books and audiobooks, as well as our free e-Reads and audio.

How does the challenge work?

Children can sign up to the Summer Reading Challenge in their local library any time from 13 July and collect their free Space Chase folder. The challenge is to read six library books over the summer and collect special smelly stickers along the way. When six books have been read they earn a finishers certificate and medal. It’s fun, it’s local and best of all, it’s free!

Summer activities

All libraries are running a series of events and activities for children this summer alongside the Summer Reading Challenge. Visit your local library for more information, or check the events calendar for times and dates. Our events are popular so booking may be required - contact your local library for details.
Find an event


Aged 14 plus? Why not spend some time this summer volunteering at your local library to help out with the Summer Reading Challenge? It’s a great chance to meet new people, gain experience in working with children and it looks great on your CV or UCAS form! All of our Summer Reading Challenge volunteers also get a free goody bag and are guaranteed a fantastic volunteering experience. Ask at your local library for more information or visit our Get Involved Hub for more details and to apply. Please note these Summer Reading Challenge volunteering opportunities are only available at the following libraries: Brackley, Brixworth, Corby, Daventry, Duston, Hunsbury, Irthlingborough, Kettering, Northampton Central, Oundle, Rushden, Towcester, Wellingborough, Weston Favell.

Find out more

For more Space Chase activities you can visit the official Space Chase website.

The Summer Reading Challenge is produced annually by The Reading Agency and delivered by libraries.

Northamptonshire Shield Short Story Competition

As well as taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge, children can enter the Northamptonshire Shield Short Story competition. There are two age groups: 8 to 11 years old and 12  to 16 years old. Stories should be 500 to 600 words long

There are book token prizes for the winner and also the second and third placed stories, plus book tokens and a trophy for the winner's school.

All entrants will receive an invitation to the awards ceremony on 29 September, including a family train ride around Wicksteed Park and also the opportunity to meet a well-known author.

For more information please go the Northamptonshire Shield Short Story Competition webpage.

​Illustrations © Adam Stower 2019
Photos © Dave Warren 2019 for The Reading Agency with thanks to Pancras Square Library.