It’s time to get reading with the return of the Summer Reading Challenge at Bristol Libraries

Councillor Ellie King (Right) is pictured standing alongside library staff. They are all holding books with, Bristol's Summer Reading Challenge display in the background.
Today’s guest blog is from Councillor Ellie King, Cabinet Member for Communities and Public Health and Labour Councillor for Hillfields ward.

The Summer Reading Challenge is returning and young readers across Bristol will soon be able to take part in this year’s challenge at their local library. 

The challenge is a free event, which begins on Saturday 8 July and encourages children to read six books over the summer holidays. The Summer Reading Challenge is proven to significantly improve children’s reading confidence, making sure they are ready for their return to school in the autumn. Last year, nearly 4,000 children took part in Bristol, and we look forward to welcoming them back this year and encouraging even more families to join in.

I popped into Bristol Central Library to chat to our library team in the Children’s Library and to get a sneak peak at the challenge sheet, which is an obstacle course which children can ‘weave’ their way through as they read, collecting stickers (which are not just ordinary stickers…!) along the way.

Councillor Ellie King is pictured, smiling, holding the Bristol's Reading Challenge challenge sheet. A bookshelf can be seen on her left.

This year, The Reading Agency have teamed up with up with children’s charity, the Youth Sport Trust, for ‘Ready, Set, Read!’, a Summer Reading Challenge focused on reading, sport and play. The booklist features 55 brilliantly diverse titles and library staff will be on hand all summer to help children choose books and encourage them along the way. I hope the theme shows our children that sport and activity is for all of us. One of my children is into sports at the moment and I was lucky enough to take a book from the display that I know he’s been looking forward to reading.

It will be great to see children and families making the most of this fun and free activity over the summer, helping families to love reading and books even more! Reading books with the children creates a wonderful bonding time. It’s the best part of the day for me, and books have a tactile quality to them that encourages exploration, conversation and sharing.

A display is pictured showing Youth Sport Trust, for 'Ready, Set, Read', part of Bristol's Summer Reading Challenge. The display shows the challenge with book covers displayed in order.

We are lucky to have a number of libraries in the city to promote a love of reading and to increase the literacy levels of children in Bristol through initiatives like the Summer Reading Challenge. As a family we find the Libraries App really useful; we choose our books together, order them and then pick them up at our local library on a weekend. It’s really handy for renewing those books we are still enjoying.

To take part in Ready, Set, Read!, all children need to do is sign up at their nearest library, where they will be given a collector folder to keep a record of their Summer Reading Challenge journey. As children read library books, they will receive stickers, and will be rewarded with a medal and certificate at the end of the challenge. Young readers can also take part online with the digital challenge, with fun online games and rewards.  

The assets of the Bristol Summer Reading Challenge are pictured, with stickers, medals and posters.

Children can find competitions, challenges, author interviews, news, and the book sorter – which recommends what children might like to read next, on the Summer Reading Challenge website throughout the year. 

There are fun events and activities planned at Bristol libraries for families over the summer holidays to celebrate the Summer Reading Challenge. The library bike will be on College Green at the beginning of August too so keep an eye on Bristol Libraries website and social media channels for more on this.

Enjoy your Summer Reading Challenge journey and best of luck reaching your reading goals!