Thursday, June 26, 2014


News for release: Wednesday 25th June 2014: Libraries are getting ready to introduce children to an epic adventure that will keep them reading throughout the school summer holidays with Mythical Maze, the 2014 Summer Reading Challenge run by independent charity The Reading Agency.
Now in its 16th year, the Summer Reading Challenge in libraries is the UK’s largest reading for pleasure programme for primary school aged children. Last year a record 810,000 children took up the challenge to read six books or more at their local library last summer; it runs in 98% of local authorities in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Pass it on!
This year thousands of children will be inspired to share their love of reading by recommending or ‘Passing On’ a book to friends, family and carers, in turn making one of the books they read this summer one that has been recommended to them. The campaign has come out of The Reading Agency’s consultation with young people and is intended to inspire children to share their reading choices, ignite playground conversations and build confidence in swapping recommendations as they undertake the Summer Reading Challenge.
A host of hugely popular children’s authors including Eoin Colfer, Cathy Cassidy, Cressida Cowell, Liz Pichon, Rick Riordon, Sarah McIntyre, Michael Rosen, Anthony Horowitz, Jacqueline Wilson and Michael Morpurgo are lending their support to ‘Pass it On’ by recording video messages and recommending their favourite children’s books on social media in this major drive to get children sharing and celebrating reading.
Kicking off ‘Pass it On’, Cathy Cassidy, Queen of Teens short-listed author, recommends Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli: “Stargirl is one of my favourite books ever… it’s all about hope and happiness and love and trust and being different. It's almost perfect, and I love it.”
While Jacqueline Wilson recommends: “The book I’d like to pass on is Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell which is a delightfully stylish, original book that is a real page turner.”
Children can also go on the website to create a profile, chat about books, and get help on what to read next, via the digital Book Sorter which already offers over 300,000 peer to peer children’s book recommendations in child-friendly categories.
Each year the Summer Reading Challenge uses a new theme to inject fun and creativity into reading. The 2014 challenge, Mythical Maze, is illustrated by award winning Sarah McIntyre. Children sign up at their local library, receive a mythical maze poster, then find their way around a labyrinth of fantastical creatures from the world of legend and mythology, reading books and collecting stickers along the way. It’s a highlight of the holidays for thousands of children and families.
The Summer Reading Challenge gets underway on 12 July (local variation applies). It’s entirely inclusive and all materials are absolutely free. There are also super-size materials for visually impaired children, supported by the RNIB, and audio books can also count.
The Reading Agency is also working with SOLUS UK Ltd to add some “digital magic” to the 2014 Challenge - for the first time, librarians and families will be able to download a free mobile App onto their devices which will recognize key Mythical Maze illustrations and trigger audio visual content including videos, games and messages from the mythical creatures.
Reading for pleasure has been shown to be pivotal to life chances. Research shows the Summer Reading Challenge increases children’s their enjoyment of reading. It builds confidence and independent reading, helping prevent the summer reading dip children’s literacy levels during the long break from school. Teachers often comment that children who take part return to school after the break as more fluent, confident readers.
Sue Wilkinson, Chief Executive, The Reading Agency says: “It is wonderful to be launching the 2014 Summer Reading Challenge. This fantastic programme which is developed and delivered in partnership with librarians across the UK is designed to inspire children to keep reading during the long summer break. We know from our own research just how much fun families and children get out of taking part in the Challenge; this year we think it is going to be more exciting than ever. Fantastical creatures from myths and legends have been designed by Sarah McIntyre to accompany everyone on their reading journey and SOLUS has sponsored an app to bring these creatures to life in the library. What we hope is that everyone who takes part this summer really will find out that everything changes when we read.”

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