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Tuesday 14 October 2014

Council-backed reading scheme sets new record


A Council-backed summer reading challenge has set a new record for the number of children taking part – for the second year running.

The year’s theme of Mythical Maze captured imaginations and sparked a huge range of spin-off activities for kids including storytelling, crafts, parachute games and animal handling.

Cheshire East libraries got more volunteers, more children attending events and more schools actively involved.

Of those children who started the challenge, 62% completed it, which is 3% more than in 2013.

While all libraries did a superb job, Middlewich gets a special mention for an increase of 41% in starters over 2013 and a staggering 52% increase in completers.

The libraries recruited and trained 72 volunteers this year, of whom 48 were 24 years old or younger. These dedicated volunteers gave a total of almost 2,000 hours to the libraries over the summer.

The national scheme, coordinated by The Reading Agency, ran from July to September and was designed for children aged four to 11.

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 record 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.

“The number of children who attended library events also increased to 4,002, from 3,625 in 2013 and 2,492 in 2012. This is great news and testament to the passion and dedication of our libraries staff.”

Research shows that taking part in the summer reading scheme can help prevent a dip in reading motivation and attainment, so common over the summer holidays.

Partnerships with local schools, parents and carers is important to the success of the scheme and Cheshire East library staff visited 68 primary schools – up from 66 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.

In September, medals and certificates were awarded to all those who completed the challenge at ceremonies attended by councillors, MPs and local VIPs.

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