North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham is supporting a campaign run by a charity to get children reading this summer.
The Summer Reading Challenge is the UK’s largest reading for pleasure promotion for primary school children.
Research shows the Summer Reading Challenge increases children’s reading range and their enjoyment of reading significantly. It builds confidence and independent reading, while preventing the dip in children’s literacy levels during the long break from school.
A unique partnership between The Reading Agency and public libraries across the UK, the challenge got a record 810,000 children reading in the summer holidays in 2013.
Children will also be encouraged to share their love of reading by recommending a book to friends, family and carers with a campaign called ‘pass-it-on’ this year.
The campaign is intended to inspire them to share their reading choices. It is endorsed by the new National Curriculum, which suggests that pupils should be “recommending books that they have read to their peers, giving reasons for their choices.”
Mr Bellingham said: “I hope parents, grandparents and carers in North West Norfolk will take their children to the library to sign up for the Summer Reading Challenge. It’s free, inclusive and makes reading fun – a vital ingredient in building literacy.
“Last year 14,014 children in Norfolk took part in the challenge. I hope we can increase that number this year and show local libraries what a valuable asset they are to us and our community.”
Children can go online to summerreadingchallenge.org.uk to create a profile, chat about books, and get help on what to read next, via the digital Book Sorter which offers more than 300,000 peer to peer children’s book recommendations in child-friendly categories.
The challenge reaches children and young people of all ages. For pre-school children there is a mini-challenge and for those aged 13 to 24 there is the opportunity to volunteer and support younger children taking part. Volunteering provides a quality workplace experience for young people in libraries, inspires them to think about future careers and increases their employability as they gain useful life skills and confidence.
This year it is expected around 8,000 young people will volunteer.
Ciara Eastell, President of the Society of Chief Librarians, said: “We know how much fun families and children get out of taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge and rediscovering what their local library has to offer for the whole family.”