Coun John Knight’s guest column: Reading Challenge is great way of introducing children to books

Reading Agency Summer Challenge
Reading Agency Summer Challenge

We are proud that more than one million children’s books were loaned from Nottinghamshire County Council’s libraries last year.

And with the start of the summer holidays, the county council is hoping to build on this success by again hosting the Summer Reading Challenge in the county.

The Summer Reading Challenge is produced nationally by The Reading Agency and takes place in libraries across Nottinghamshire.

Children, aged 4 – 11 years-old, are challenged to read six library books over the summer holidays and are rewarded with stickers and other incentives for every book they read.

Our libraries aim to inspire a love of reading and the Summer Reading Challenge is one of the many ways we encourage children to read for pleasure. Taking part in the challenge can also have real benefits on a child’s reading skills and confidence.

We know that reading for pleasure can make a significant impact in a child’s educational progress; with research showing that it can impact on spelling, vocabulary and maths skills. Research looking at the impact of the Summer Reading Challenge has shown taking part can boost children’s inclination to read at home and encourage them to talk about books with their families and friends.

Last year, more children than ever before took part across the county, with over 10,000 children getting involved and we hope to build on that success this year.

This year’s theme for the Summer Reading Challenge is Mythical Maze. Children will receive their own pull out poster of an amazing labyrinth and as they progress through the challenge will be introduced to fantastical creatures from the world of legend and mythology.

Children can read whatever they like on the challenge - fact books, joke books, picture books, audio books. As long as they are borrowed from the library, all reading counts. This free choice over what they read can further inspire children to enjoy reading.

Among those events taking place this summer, we will be delighted to welcome storyteller and artist Gordon McLellan to Mansfield Library on Wednesday, August 13, when he will be working with children to create their own Mythical Mazes from between 10.30am and 12.30pm and 1.30pm to 3.30pm.

Ahead of the summer holidays, and for more details about this year’s Summer Reading Challenge, visit Nottinghamshire County Council’s website: or follow #SummerReadingChallenge on Twitter.

Visit to keep updated with the latest on the packed programme of events and activities which take place in our libraries each week. You can also sign up to our Email Me service to receive events via email.