MPs celebrate UK-wide children’s reading programme
Roger Gale MP has celebrated the Summer Reading Challenge, which aims to keep 650,000 young people across the UK active and reading throughout the summer holidays. He attended a House of Commons reception held by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Libraries, Literacy and Information Management.
Among the 70 MPs who heard how the Summer Reading Challenge encourages reading were Jim Knight MP, Minister of State for Schools and Learners and John Healey MP, Minister of State for Local Government. The official toast was given by Michael Rosen, Children’s Laureate.
“This important occasion gets everyone together to celebrate this year’s challenge, and to acknowledge the important part reading plays in children’s development,” says Roger.
The Summer Reading Challenge to children is simple – read six books through your local library this summer. Children are given a special pack and a set of incentives to collect as they read, with a certificate or medal for those that successfully complete the Challenge, which has a different theme each year.
This year’s Challenge has a sporting theme and is called Team Read, with a programme of activities, incentives and an interactive website.
Roger Gale said: “I was pleased to attend the launch of the Summer Reading Challenge which is supported by libraries in Thanet North each summer. I am delighted by this year’s sporting theme, and hope it will encourage more children than ever to join in.
“The challenge should keep the children of Thanet North active and interested throughout the long summer holidays, and could help develop a positive attitude towards leisure time which they will take with them into adult life.”
The Summer Reading Challenge is 10 years old this year. It is created and run by The Reading Agency, the independent charity working to get people reading more, in partnership with the UK library network and supported by children’s book publishers.
Research shows how central reading for pleasure is for children’s life chances, and the Summer Reading Challenge is shown to improve children’s reading range, confidence and enjoyment. Schools say that this contributes to their overall confidence and reading achievement, with potentially life-changing results.
Roger Gale was presented with a set of books, donated by children’s publishers, which he has passed to Westgate library.
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Roger at the House of Commons reception