A Council-backed summer reading challenge for youngsters has been hailed a ‘monster’ success.
This year’s scheme had a spooky theme that proved a big hit at getting kids interested in books over the summer holidays.
It proved the most popular to date and saw record numbers of youngsters taking part and joining their local libraries.
More children enrolled and more children completed the annual challenge than ever before – with figures up by more than a fifth and nearly a quarter respectively.
Cheshire East libraries had more new members join, saw more volunteers involved, an increase in children attending events and more schools actively involved.
The scheme, designed for children aged four to 11, is run by all the libraries in Cheshire East from July to September, with support and materials from the Reading Agency.
Each child was challenged to visit the library four times and read at least six books over the summer. Related activities locally included a ‘Creepy House Zoolab’ event, in which children got the chance to handle creepy animals.
Councillor David Brown, Deputy Leader of Cheshire East Council and Cabinet member in charge of libraries, said: “We were really pleased to support the national summer reading challenge in our libraries and delighted at the big success of this year’s scheme.
“It is really encouraging to see that each year it gets more and more popular with children and parents. The key is that it really catches children’s imagination, keeps them amused and makes reading fun.
“Last year, 198 children joined the library as a result of the summer reading challenge and this year the figure was 262. The number of children who attended library events also shot up from 2,492 last year to 3,625. This is great news and we will aim to continue to build on this success.”
This year, 5,774 children in Cheshire East joined the reading challenge, with 3,427 completing it. Last year 4,748 joined, with 2,774 completing it.
Research shows that taking part in the summer reading scheme can help prevent a dip in reading motivation and attainment, which can be so common over the summer holidays.
Partnership with local schools, parents and carers is important to the success of the scheme and Cheshire East library staff visited 66 primary schools – up from 61 last year.
Library staff and volunteers then spend time talking to the children about their book choices and the children are given incentives to encourage them to carry on reading.
A medal and certificate was awarded to those who complete the challenge at a ceremony in September, attended by councillors and local VIPs.