Four years ago, research by Save the Children discovered that one in four British children leave school with very poor reading skills. And that this deficit impacts negatively on their later life, particularly with employment, housing, finances and more. As a result, organisations at all levels of British society have since come together with the goal of closing that gap.
This includes the county’s libraries, now under the collective management umbrella of Inspire. 2018’s Summer Reading Challenge launches on Saturday July 14th. Last year, 9,732 Nottinghamshire children took part, and Inspire is hoping even more will pick up a book this time around and brush up their reading smarts. You see, not only is reading enjoyable, but it builds up our mental muscles. A fit brain makes for a successful future.
But what exactly is the Summer Reading Challenge? Inspire are asking local children to read 6 books from any of our awesome libraries over the school break. With every book loaned out, they receive special stickers, (some even have mysterious smells). By adding these stickers to their map, young readers can solve clues and discover a hidden treasure. Any book will do, novels, fact books, joke books – as long as they are borrowed from the library. There’s a certificate and medal for every child who completes the challenge.
If clues to a hidden treasure weren’t tempting enough, Inspire has enrolled Dennis and Gnasher to lend a helping hand. Yes, the Beano bad boys are 2018’s official cartoon mascots. Heaven help us!
Peter Gaw, Inspire’s Chief Executive stated “The Summer Reading Challenge is a great scheme to encourage to children to keep up the reading habit over the summer, with research showing it can help prevent the ‘dip’ in reading that can occur over the long break.” While Councillor John Cottee, Chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council’s Communities committee is pledging to read six library books himself. He added, “I’m sure this year’s Beano theme will capture the imagination and I hope that local young people will be making full use of their local libraries.”
And it doesn’t stop there. Make-your-own-comic workshops are touring the libraries. There are special events dedicated to fictional Mischief Makers, with the king of misrule, the one and only Horrid Henry, putting in a guest appearance. And a whole lot more!
Come on, don’t spend the entire summer slouched over a games console, get out and have some fun!
Find out details, dates and locations about the Inspire Summer Reading Challenge here: www.inspireculture.org.uk/summerreadingchallenge
Ian C. Douglas is an author, journalist, and Nottingham’s literary ambassador for Achieve For All, a charity working on children’s literacy nationwide. To read more of Ian's writing, or to find out about how to support Ian's charitable work, check out his website at http://iandouglas-writer.com