13 July 2010

We have lift off! Libraries across Northamptonshire are getting ready to launch children into orbit for an intergalactical adventure that will keep them reading throughout the school summer holidays....with the 2010 Summer Reading Challenge.

And it’s all free fun, which is out-of-this-world news for parents! The Summer Reading Challenge is just one of many exciting schemes public libraries are developing to help children love reading. So mums, dads and carers, pop down to your local library and find out more!

The Summer Reading Challenge is an immensely popular and successful reading initiative. Now in its twelfth year it involves up to 750,000 children aged four to 12 years via the UK library network. It is created and run by The Reading Agency, the independent charity working to inspire more people to read more, and is supported by children’s publishers.

Each year the Summer Reading Challenge to children is simple. They’re encouraged to read six or more books of their choice during the holidays with collectable stickers, plus a certificate and medal for every child who completes the Challenge.

Children can sign up at their local library from Saturday July 24th and all materials are absolutely free. The 2010 Summer Reading Challenge has a space theme. Called Space Hop, it will enable children to boldly go to new worlds, to discover the joy of reading and nurture a life-long love affair with reading and books. Illustrated by leading children’s book artist Tom Percival, Space Hop coincides with the 350th anniversary of The Royal Society’s scientific endeavours, and the 2010 BBC Year of Science.

The Summer Reading Challenge adventure starts in their local library, where young Space Hoppers meet Finn, Jessie, Nabil and Safiya – the crew of the Ex Libris – as they embark on their mission to set up the first lunar library. Unless the dastardly Spacekatz lead them into the nearest black hole.....

There are also over 400 activities taking place in Northamptonshire Libraries this summer, most of which are completely free. These include visits by authors, a poet, theatre groups, a mad scientist and live animals which were launched into space, as well as plenty of space related craft activities. To see the full list visit www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/srcevents or visit your local library. Booking is essential except for rhymetimes. Start booking from Friday 16th July by phoning or visiting the library where the event will be held. Children under 8 must be accompanied by an adult.

An interactive Space Hop (www.spacehop.org.uk) website has also just launched, linking children with top authors and illustrators, and giving them space to talk about their favourite books and to share reading ideas. Space Hop also promotes their local library as a place of wonder for children, where librarians can offer them invaluable advice and guidance to help them on their mission.

Once again this year there are also large print Summer Reading Challenge materials available for visually impaired children, thanks to the support of the RNIB National Library Service.

“Our research shows that children really enjoy taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge,” says Anne Sarrag, Summer Reading Challenge director for The Reading Agency. ”It’s a great way to keep them entertained over the holidays, but more importantly, we know that children who take part read more books and read more widely than those who don’t, with potentially life-changing results”.