Swindon's Summer Reading Challenge returns for 2022

By Jessica Durston - 1 August 2022

Arts and CultureFamilyEducationCommunity

The popular Summer Reading Challenge event is back this year, and is encouraging children in Swindon to pick up a book over the holidays.

The Summer Reading Challenge aims to get children reading and enjoying books throughout the summer holidays.

Running from now until Saturday 10 September, it is completely free to join. 

Children just need to be a Swindon Libraries member - which is also free. Staff in any of Swindon’s 13 libraries can help children and families join or they can join online at https://swindon.spydus.co.uk/cgi-bin/spydus.exe/MSGTRNGEN/WPAC/MEMBERSHIP

Children can register for the challenge in any Swindon library and collect a free goodie pack for a fun summer of reading - while stocks last.

Allie Brown, Outreach Manager at Swindon Libraries said “The Summer Reading Challenge is for all children and young people, not just those who already love reading. We’re keen to involve non-readers and encourage reading for pleasure – so reading choices can be everything from factual to fiction to comics and joke books – the choice is theirs.”

“Our libraries have nearly 30,000 children’s books on all subjects. And digital reading, including eBooks, eMagazines, eComics and audiobooks are included in the Challenge. They can all be borrowed for free from us, so children can read whatever and however they like.”

“We also have a selection of non-English and dual language books and eResources, from Arabic to Somali to Ukrainian. So there’s something for every language, age, ability and interest.”

“We’ve also got lots of reads related to this year’s ‘Gadgeteers’ theme, to spark children’s curiosity about the science and innovation surrounding them. And we’re running fun, free activities for children and families to enjoy.”

To further encourage children to take part, Swindon Libraries are running a competition with a special prize of a behind the scenes tour of Central Library for the winner plus five guests and parents. All children need to do is guess how many books will be borrowed across all of Swindon’s 13 libraries for this year’s Summer Reading Challenge.

Swindon Libraries are also holding free, drop-in activity sessions throughout August. Families can call in to one of the sessions any time between 10am and 1pm without booking, to try the Gadgeteer activities, talk about the Challenge, and choose new books to read.

Children who complete the Challenge quickly can even collect their medals and certificates at the same time.

The free activity sessions will be the same in each library. To enable more families to attend, families are requested to drop into one session only. Activity dates for the five core libraries are:

  • Thursday, 18 August – Park Library, Cavendish Square
  • Friday, 19 August – Central Library, Regent Circus
  • Monday, 22 August – West Swindon Library, Link Centre
  • Tuesday, 23 August – Highworth Library, Brewery Street (above the Co-op)
  • Wednesday, 24 August – North Swindon Library, Orbital Retail Park

Community Libraries, including Wroughton, Old Town and Beechcroft are also running activity sessions. Check community libraries’ social media or websites for more details.

Swindon Libraries are suspending children’s fines until the challenge ends. If your child’s account has existing fines, or they have lost books or library cards, talk to library staff who will make sure your child is able to take part.

To support children with SEND to engage with the Summer Reading Challenge, particularly those with more profound learning and physical needs, Swindon Stories, in collaboration with Swindon SEND Families Voice, has created a free activities sheet. There will also be a free, Interactive Storyteller event for children with SEND at West Swindon Library on Wednesday 17 August at 10.30am. Places must be booked, with online bookings opening at 8pm on 2 August. See Swindon Library’s Facebook page for the booking link.

Cllr Oladapo Ibitoye, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, is a keen supporter of the Challenge: “The Summer Reading Challenge is always a great way to help children across the Borough keep up their literacy skills during the holidays so they are ready to start back at school in September. It’s a brilliant opportunity to develop reading skills, take part in activities and spend time together as a family – all for free.

“Reading is such an important part of life and there’s nothing better than finding a good book that immerses you in its world, or even tells you something new about the world around you.

“I hope that every child taking part finds their new favourite book and that they take advantage of the great resources we have at our libraries.”

All of the information about the challenge, including the free activities week, the Book Bingo Challenge, the Steve Antony 'design a robot' competition, resources for SEND families and more, is available on Swindon Libraries’ Summer Reading Challenge webpage at https://swindonlibraries.wordpress.com/childrens-services/summer-reading-challenge/

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