The number of children taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge at North Yorkshire libraries rose this year.
Final figures show that 11,161 children took part, an increase of 14 per cent on last year. Thirty-three libraries met or exceeded the number taking part the previous year, with 12 seeing an increase of more than 10 per cent.
The Summer Reading Challenge is a national scheme for children aged up to 11 years. It is organised by public libraries and The Reading Agency during the summer holidays to improve reading skills and literacy by encouraging primary school children to read six library books over six weeks, collecting rewards along the way.
This year’s theme was Space Chase, commemorating 50 years since the first moon landing. For the first time, all libraries offered a mini-challenge for pre-schoolers, encouraging families to read together.
Each year, the libraries service recognises the hard work done to ensure the Challenge’s success. This year awards went to the following libraries: Bilton and Woodfield, Derwent Valley Bridge, Filey, Harrogate, Hawes, Ripon, South Craven, Selby, Tadcaster and Whitby. Certificates were presented by the Chair of the Council, Cllr Jim Clark, at the libraries’ annual volunteer conference.
County Councillor Greg White, Executive Member for Libraries, said: “Libraries staff and volunteers all worked hard to ensure this year’s success. There was tremendous enthusiasm for activities from building rockets and planets to cookery. Partnerships were forged, with York University Cosmodome visiting several libraries, local astronomy and lunar societies delivering activities and the Children’s University delivering a children’s writing course at Whitby library.”
One four-year-old participant said: “I think the reading challenge is awesome, because I got to go in the alien spaceship to read.”
Nationally, 707,031 children took part in Space Chase across England, Scotland and Wales. This is a 1.1 per cent increase on the previous year. There was again significant growth in participation by under-fours and the completion rate also increased. The 2020 Challenge will celebrate funny books, happiness and laughter and will be called Silly Squad.