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Summer reading challenge gets ready to take off…into space

Published: 9 July 2019

An out-of-this-world adventure is planned for children taking part in this year’s Summer Reading Challenge which launches this weekend.


Space Chase is the theme of the 2019 challenge, which is being run by Derbyshire County Council’s libraries in partnership with The Reading Agency.

The theme has been inspired by the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, and will be launched on Saturday 13 July 2019 between 10am and midday at events held at Dronfield Library and Ilkeston Library.

The Summer Reading Challenge is a national programme aimed at encouraging children to read for pleasure and use libraries over the long school holidays. By continuing with their reading, it can help to prevent a dip in literacy skills that can happen over a prolonged break from the classroom.

By having an engaging theme, it’s also an exciting way to encourage children to have fun reading and talking about books.

The challenge is open to children of all ages, and they can sign up at their local library from Saturday.

They are challenged to read six books of their choice, and for each book they read they will get a smelly, space-themed sticker with a clue to help track down books taken by `mischievous aliens’. Those children completing the mission are rewarded with medals and certificates to mark their achievement.

Each year the Summer Reading Challenge helps to get around 750,000 children in to libraries nationally.

In Derbyshire 8,184 children took part last year with 4,762 successfully completing the challenge. There were 113 activities attended by 2,145 children, and the library service gained 969 new members as youngsters joined their local library and collected their first library cards.

Derbyshire County Council Leader and Cabinet Member for Strategic Leadership, Culture and Tourism Councillor Barry Lewis said:

“The launch of the Summer Reading Challenge is a key date in the diary for our library service and there is always much excitement around it.

“The yearly themes always spark youngsters’ imaginations and inspire them to read over the long summer holidays, which is really important as it helps to keep up their reading skills.

“Encouraging children to pick up a book they want to read, rather than telling them they have to read something, is how youngsters develop a lifelong love of reading, and it can help with their development and education. Most important of all though, the Summer Reading Challenge is fun, and it’s free.”

This year’s challenge runs until Saturday 7 September 2019 and supporting events will be taking place in libraries across Derbyshire. They will be advertised locally.

Families are invited to go along to the Dronfield or Ilkeston launch events on Saturday and join in with alien, robot, rocket and space-themed activities.

There will be activities for children of all ages and their families/parents/carers in the morning from 10am to midday in both libraries, and in the afternoon from 1pm to 3pm at Ilkeston.

Find out more about the summer reading challenge in Derbyshire or visit the  summer reading challenge website.