Big Friendly Read Challenge a Resounding Success

Battle Library Big Friendly Read Rhyme Time Event
Battle Library Big Friendly Read Rhyme Time Event

READING’S Big Friendly Read, Summer Reading Challenge was a resounding success this year, with 1,762 children between the ages of 4 – 13 taking part.

This year’s Roald Dahl theme proved extremely popular, with more than 70 well-attended craft sessions and activities taking place across library branches to support the challenge.

All library branches saw a good take-up but Whitley Library in particular saw a huge rise in the number of children joining the challenge, with over 40% more children joining in.

Encouragingly, more boys than ever finished the challenge to read six books over the summer – up by 2.5% and there was also an increase in the hours that teenage volunteers contributed towards the success of the scheme.

Cllr Paul Gittings, Lead Member for Culture, said:

“I’m delighted to hear that this year’s reading challenge has achieved such great results. I want to congratulate all the children that took part and to thank all the staff and volunteers whose hard work contributed to making this year such a success.

“We know that children’s reading can sometimes dip during the long summer holiday and so the Summer Reading Challenge importantly provides a great incentive to get children into their local library, encouraging them to keep up with their reading skills and also helping to nurture a life-long love of reading. I’m particularly pleased to see reading amongst boys in Reading has increased.”



The Summer Reading Challenge, now in its 18th year, is created by The Reading Agency, an independent charity working to bring reading to more people in partnership with the UK library network.

This summer, children across the borough were encouraged to take part in the Reading Challenge in July during the long summer holiday.

The Big Friendly Read encourages children aged 4 to 11 to read at least six books over the holiday. It is designed for all reading abilities and can include picture books, fiction, factual or audio books.

This year’s challenge was Roald Dahl-themed to celebrate 100 years of the world’s favourite storyteller.

Children registered for free at their local library where they were given a collector’s folder for the Quentin Blake illustrated Big Friendly Read cards they collect as they read, culminating with a certificate and medal for those who successfully complete the challenge.


Victoria Nickless

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