Children and Libraries

Summer Reading Challenge

Children with books for Summer Reading Challenge

Animal Agents: the Summer Reading Challenge 2017

This year's Summer Reading Challenge starts in all island libraries on Saturday 15 July 2017. This year's challenge is called Animal Agents, with pictures by the fabulous Tony Ross, famous for his pictures of Horrid Henry, the Little Princess and many other popular characters. As they read books, children will help the Animal Agents, a team of quirky animal detectives, as they solve a baffling library-based mystery. Along the way, children will collect stickers - some of them stinky! - and other goodies, including a wristband and a zip tag, and as usual, will win a medal and a certificate when they have read 6 books.

The Big Friendly Read, the Summer Reading Challenge 2016, was a big success in Isle of Wight Libraries, with 2345 children taking part, and 1613 children - a record-breaking 69% - successfully earning their medal. Everyone from Isle of Wight Libraries is very excited about this year's challenge, which promises to be just as good, if not better.

Animal Agents starts on Saturday 15 July 2017 and will run throughout the summer holidays in all island libraries. It's free to join.

The Summer Reading Challenge scheme

The Summer Reading Challenge is an annual challenge that aims to keep children enthusiastically reading during the summer holidays. Children are challenged to read books during the holidays, and receive stickers and prizes along the way, culminating in a medal and a certificate when they have read six books. Any book counts - fiction or non-fiction, easy or hard, new author or old favourite - as long as they're borrowed from the library.

The challenge is designed for children aged between 4 and 11 years, but older and younger children can take part, if they wish. However, please be warned that some of the prizes are not suitable for under threes, due to small parts. The challenge is free to join.

Application process

  • To join the free Summer Reading Challenge visit your local library to register that your up for the challenge!
  • You can join the Summer Reading Challenge anytime in the summer holidays so don't worry if you miss joining on the launch date, Saturday 15 July 2017.
  • Children under 16 years old taking part must be a library member with their own library card, but joining the library is quick and easy, and doesn't cost any money. You will need to be accompanied by your parent/guardian and they will need to bring proof of their name such as bank card.
  • The Summer Reading Challenge closes on Saturday 9 September 2017.


The Benefits of the Summer Reading Challenge

Children often return to school in September with their reading and learning levels lower than they were in July. Research has shown that children who take part in the Summer Reading Challenge are far less likely to suffer from this "summer dip."

A key principle of the Summer Reading Challenge is that children are free to choose their own books, rather than being pressurised to read books that are not to their taste. Parents often report that this makes a huge difference to their child's enthusiasm for reading - and enthusiastic readers are good readers.

"My son has always seen reading as a chore," one parent commented, "but thanks to this challenge, he's finally started to enjoy books, and his reading has come on in leaps and bounds." (Isle of Wight parent, August 2016)

Getting Involved

We are on the look out for volunteers aged 14 to 25 to become Summer Reading Challenge Champions during the summer holidays. Summer Reading Challenge Champions will help promote the challenge to children, and will chat to children about their reading, hand out rewards and assist with children's displays and events.

Application Process - Volunteers

  • To apply to volunteer download an application form, please click here (PDF, 592KB, 2 pages).
  • Complete the form and hand the form into any library.
  • For further information contact us by email. Click here to email.