The Summer Reading Challenge is part of a greater involvement by authors in developing children's love of reading, Lynne Taylor writes Authors are playing a leading role in uniting the children's book industry to help children develop a love of reading. Alan Gibbons Campaign for the Book, for example, seeks to halt library closures and to make school libraries statutory, and Michael Rosen's Just Read campaign is involving the book industry in supporting schools to encourage children to read more.
Both campaigns recognise the importance of schools and libraries joining together to support reading for pleasure. This is beginning to happen in a much more strategic way, but a lot more has to be done. It is essential that schools recognise the benefits of encouraging reading for pleasure. The Reading Agency is investing in a research project with UKLA, to look at the effect on children's reading when they take part in the Summer Reading Challenge in libraries during the summer holidays.
The Summer Reading Challenge not only gets children into libraries and reading more but it also involves authors in creative events and activities over the summer. This year's Challenge - Quest Seekers - is based around a fantasy adventure, and libraries have invested in extra stock and book collections linked to the theme.
Twelve well-known children's authors, including Francesca Simon, Cornelia Funke, Morris Gleitzman and Frank Cottrell Boyce, are getting directly involved in the Challenge by contributing blogs to the website, questseekers.org.uk. This gives children greater connection to the books they re reading and inspires them to read more, sometimes for the first time. As Kira, aged nine, says: I haven t been interested in books but then I found Quest Seekers - now I love books.
Lynne Taylor is Consultant for The Reading Agency