Young people encouraged to join Summer Reading Challenge

There are plenty of incentives for young people to join in with this year’s Summer Reading Challenge.

Published: Friday, 5th August 2022

Robot for Summer Reading Challenge 2022

The Challenge, which runs from now until 10th September, encourages children and young people to read what they enjoy over the summer holidays. 

Allie Brown, Outreach Manager at Swindon Libraries said “The Summer Reading Challenge is for all children and young people, not just those who already love reading. We’re keen to involve non-readers and encourage reading for pleasure – so reading choices can be everything from factual to fiction to comics and joke books – the choice is theirs.”

“Our libraries have nearly 30,000 children’s books on all subjects. And digital reading, including eBooks, eMagazines, eComics and audiobooks are included in the Challenge. They can all be borrowed for free from us, so children can read whatever and however they like.”

“We also have a selection of non-English and dual language books and eResources, from Arabic to Somali to Ukrainian. So there’s something for every language, age, ability and interest.”

“We’ve also got lots of reads related to this year’s ‘Gadgeteers’ theme, to spark children’s curiosity about the science and innovation surrounding them. And we’re running fun, free activities for children and families to enjoy.”

Participation in the Challenge is free - children just need to be a library member, and it’s free and easy to join from any of Swindon’s 13 libraries or at Children can then register for the Challenge at any Swindon library and receive a fun, free Challenge pack while stocks last.

You can find out more about the Challenge and collect all resources and competitions from any library or download them from the Swindon Library blog. Swindon Libraries’ YouTube channel includes a video on how to join the library, register for the Summer Reading Challenge and take part.

The challenge is for children to complete six reads over the summer, noting each completed read in their Challenge Folder and giving it a star rating. Once the six reads are finished, children bring their folder into any Swindon library to receive their celebration certificate and medal.

Included in the free Challenge pack is a special ‘design a robot’ competition by Swindon Libraries’ Children's Patron, the award-winning writer and illustrator Steve Antony. Entries will be judged by Steve himself, with prizes including signed copies of Steve’s Unplugged book, and a visit from Steve to the school or education setting of the overall winner. 

The Summer Reading Challenge is mainly aimed at primary age children but Swindon Libraries are keen to encourage all young people to expand their reading, so have created Book Bingo for 12 to 19-year-olds, who can win a £50 High Street Voucher.

To further encourage children to take part, Swindon Libraries are running a competition with a special prize of a behind the scenes tour of Central Library for the winner plus five guests and parents. All children need to do is guess how many books will be borrowed across all of Swindon’s 13 libraries for this year’s Summer Reading Challenge.

Swindon Libraries are also holding free, drop-in activity sessions throughout August. Families can call in to one of the sessions any time between 10am and 1pm without booking, to try the Gadgeteer activities, talk about the Challenge, and choose new books to read.

Children who complete the Challenge quickly can even collect their medals and certificates at the same time.

The free activity sessions will be the same in each library. To enable more families to attend, families are requested to drop into one session only. Activity dates for the five core libraries are:

  • Thursday, 18 August – Park Library, Cavendish Square
  • Friday, 19 August – Central Library, Regent Circus
  • Monday, 22 August – West Swindon Library, Link Centre
  • Tuesday, 23 August – Highworth Library, Brewery Street (above the Co-op)
  • Wednesday, 24 August – North Swindon Library, Orbital Retail Park

Community Libraries, including Wroughton, Old Town and Beechcroft are also running activity sessions. Check community libraries’ social media or websites for more details.

Swindon Libraries are suspending children’s fines until the challenge ends. If your child’s account has existing fines, or they have lost books or library cards, talk to library staff who will make sure your child is able to take part.

To support children with SEND to engage with the Summer Reading Challenge, particularly those with more profound learning and physical needs, Swindon Stories, in collaboration with Swindon SEND Families Voice, has created a free activities sheet. There will also be a free, Interactive Storyteller event for children with SEND at West Swindon Library on Wednesday 17 August at 10.30am. Places must be booked, with online bookings opening at 8pm on 2 August. See Swindon Library’s Facebook page for the booking link.

Councillor Oladapo Ibitoye, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, is a keen supporter of the Challenge: “The Summer Reading Challenge is always a great way to help children across the Borough keep up their literacy skills during the holidays so they are ready to start back at school in September. It’s a brilliant opportunity to develop reading skills, take part in activities and spend time together as a family – all for free.

“Reading is such an important part of life and there’s nothing better than finding a good book that immerses you in its world, or even tells you something new about the world around you.

“I hope that every child taking part finds their new favourite book and that they take advantage of the great resources we have at our libraries.”

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