Around 60 excited school children joined the Minister to celebrate the start of the new Summer Reading Challenge – this year the theme is Mythical Maze (Chwilfa Chwedlau in Welsh). Some of the library staff dressed up as Mythical creatures for the event – no easy task considering the thermometer way above 20C!
Storyteller Michael Harvey started the event by entertaining the children (and adults!) with some fantastic stories. The Minister then officially launched the Summer Reading Challenge, and spoke about the importance of reading and chatted with the children about their favourite books. There were further speeches from Councillor Sarah Merry, Cardiff Council and Elwyn Jones, Chief Executive of the Welsh Books Council. And then everyone enjoyed some special Mythical Maze cupcakes! You can watch a short video of the event on the Welsh Libraries YouTube channel.
The Reading Agency organises the Summer Reading Challenge throughout the UK, and again the Welsh Government and the Welsh Books Council are supporting this year’s challenge in Wales. They are working with public libraries to sign up thousands of children to the Challenge, helping to encouraging children to choose and read six books over the summer holidays. They can collect stickers and other goodies as they progress and get a special certificate and medal when they complete.
The importance of summer reading for children is seen when they return to school – those who have continued reading over the summer tend not to suffer the ‘summer dip’ in reading and literacy skills when compared to other children who’ve read little or nothing over the six weeks holidays. And, in the longer term, inpsiring a love of reading can lead to long term benefits into adulthood.
Throughout the summer children can log in to the Mythical Maze website to take part in competitions and get book recommendations. And this year a special Mythical Maze app has been created, allowing children to bring the challenge to life. Adults can also interact on the SRC Facebook page.
In Wales, some libraries are also offering adults the chance to enter their own reading challenge, setting a good example to the children and with the chance to win a prize. And other libraries have set up ‘Kids take over the Library’ days – there were great pictures from Denbighshire and Swansea that I saw. Check out your local library to see what’s on offer. And more pics of the SRC launch can be found on the Welsh Libraries Facebook page.
[Guest post kindly written by colleague Jemma Francis who attended the launch.]