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Special webpages launched for Libraries’ Summer Reading Challenge

To encourage children to read more over the summer, Cheshire West and Chester Libraries have launched their own special “Read” webpages.


They include a host of online events and competitions for children in the borough, to complement the national Silly Squad website (www.sillysquad.org.uk) organised by The Reading Agency for this year’s Summer Reading Challenge.  

The Challenge aims to encourage children to read more over the summer and was launched virtually on Friday 5 June. It will run throughout the summer until September.

Council Leader and Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, Councillor Louise Gittins said: “Our new ‘Read’ webpages have something for everyone to enjoy this summer not just children.  In recent weeks many of us have turned to our love of books and reading for comfort and entertainment.  I hope our Read pages will help both children and adults share the happiness and enjoyment books can bring.

“In keeping with this year’s Summer Reading Challenge theme –‘Silly Squad’ - there will be a special page of videos of our library staff telling jokes and children will be encouraged to send in their own jokes too.  It’s going to be a summer of reading fun.”

Events include storytimes from pantomime dame Mama G, a reading of the Twits by professional storyteller John Kirk, an acting workshop from the Little Actors Theatre in Neston, a guide to do computer animation from Mako Create, animal handling, dance and other activities.  All of the events will be free, online and will be open for booking two weeks before the date of the show.

Children will have the chance to win one of several £20 book tokens for doing a book recommendation, writing a short story, a silly drawing or sharing a positive memory of lockdown.

In addition to the website, there will be more fun stuff happening on the library Twitter @cwaclibraries and on Facebook @cwaclibrary accounts, including videos produced by the Museums service and Institute of Physics.

In addition to the Silly Squad pages, the Read site will also include links to the Julybrary competition for teenagers and the Adults Read Two challenge for adults.

  • The Summer Reading Challenge is the biggest children’s reading for pleasure programme in the UK. Last year over 700,000 children and their families took part.
  • The first Summer Reading Challenge took place in 1999 and is an annual initiative with a different theme each year. The programme is delivered by The Reading Agency in partnership with public libraries, publishers and schools.
  • The Summer Reading Challenge 2020 will run from June to September, with an online virtual party on Friday 5 June to launch the new website.
  • The theme for the Summer Reading Challenge 2020 is ‘Silly Squad’. The aim is to encourage children to read whatever makes them happy, get silly and have fun!
  • Award-winning children’s book author and illustrator, Laura Ellen Anderson, has created bespoke illustrations for Silly Squad 2020.
  • Reading for pleasure is a more important determination of children’s educational success than their families’ socio-economic status. [Sullivan and Brown (2013) Social inequalities in cognitive scores at age 16: The role of reading]
  • Studies show that 16-year-olds who read for pleasure outside school are more likely to secure managerial or professional jobs later in life. [Taylor (2011) Reading at 16 linked to better job prospects]
  • Statistics show that 1 in 5 children in England cannot read well by the age of 11 [DfE (2015) Reading: the next steps p.13]
  • A recent survey commissioned by The Reading Agency showed that 45% of young people are reading more during lockdown.
  • It has been proven that children aged 10 who read books often, and more than once a week aged 16, gain higher results in Maths, vocabulary and spelling tests at age 16 than those who read less frequently. [OECD (2010) PISA 2009 Results: Learning to Learn: Student Engagement, Strategies and Practices p. 32-4]
  • Terms and conditions for the competitions will be on the Read webpages when it is launched.

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