Use this summer to get children off devices and back into reading

    Kent’s libraries are calling for school pupils to sign up to their summer 2016 challenge: The Big Friendly Read

    Big Friendly Read

    If you want your children to get off their devices and back into reading books over the holidays then your local library might just be able to do the trick.

    Since 2000 libraries all over the country have taken part in the Summer Reading Challenge, which promotes reading for fun and pleasure with a different theme each year for young ones to get involved in.

    For 2016, to coincide with centenary celebrations for one of the UK’s best-loved authors, Roald Dahl, it’s The Big Friendly Read. It takes its name from Dahl’s famous tome The Big Friendly Giant, which is currently enjoying celluloid success in cinemas.

    In order to complete the challenge, pupils aged four to 11 are being encouraged to borrow and complete up to six books before September 17. Last year over 800,000 children took part by borrowing, reading and talking about their favourite books.

    To take part in the challenge, which has been set up with the help of the Roald Dahl Literary Estate, children simply sign up at their nearest library. They’ll then receive a special collector’s folder and each time they borrow and read a library book over the summer, they can collect a special card. There are six of these in total and each one features an original illustration by Sir Quentin Blake, Dahl’s principal illustrator. Each card explores a popular theme of Dahl’s books such as invention, mischief and friendship.

    Big Friendly Read 2

    Children can choose all six titles from the much loved storyteller’s timeless canon of work or they can pick and mix them with other favourite books.

    In addition there will be a whole programme of ‘gloriumptious’ story-telling sessions and ‘squiffling’ surprises planned at each library including mask-making, a scavengers’ hunt and meet the illustrator events.

    Families can also unlock some digital magic if they download the free Summer Reading Challenge app, which includes rare recordings of Roald Dahl sharing his writing tips and reading aloud, all triggered by augmented reality as children collect the cards.

    Sue Wilkinson, CEO of The Reading Agency which runs the annual Summer Reading Challenge in partnership with the Society of Chief Librarians, said: “We believe that everything changes when we read and we know from our research how much fun families and children have when taking part in the challenge.

    “This year we hope Roald Dahl’s fantastic characters, and Sir Quentin Blake’s brilliant artwork, will inspire more children than ever to take part and make use of their local library throughout the summer and beyond.”