11 Oct 2017

Up to the challenge

The annual Summer Reading Challenge results are in. Over the summer holidays, the Isle of Wight Council’s library service set a challenge to Island children: to read six books over the six week break.

The Summer Reading Challenge runs every year over the summer break and is aimed at keeping thousands of children reading over the long holiday. This year’s challenge asked children to help solve a mystery by joining Animal Agents and help catch the crook by reading the books.

This year’s challenge saw an amazing 2,592 children sign up for Animal Agents, the Summer Reading Challenge 2017, and ran throughout the summer in all 11 of the Island's libraries, including volunteer-run libraries and the mobile library. This was an increase of 10.5 per cent on last (2,345 children in 2016) and is the third highest figure recorded since the reading challenge on the Island began.

An amazing 1,685 children successfully reached the end of the challenge, by reading six books over the summer holidays and received a medal and a certificate. This was a finishing rate of 65 per cent, beating last year’s national completion rate of 58 per cent.

Many children read considerably more than six books. In total, an eye popping 24,586 children's books were borrowed from Isle of Wight libraries during the duration of the challenge.

Isle of Wight Council development librarian for young people and lifelong learning, Elspeth Jackson, said: "We are delighted that so many children were inspired by Animal Agents. The annual Summer Reading Challenge encourages children to discover the delights of reading, and to keep up their reading skills outside school.

“Although this year's challenge is over, children can continue to explore the pleasures of reading. Island libraries stock a wide range of books for all ages, and they're all free to borrow."

The vast majority of children surveyed felt that they were more confident readers at the end of the summer than they were at the start, and many parents commented that they had never seen their children so keen to read.

“My daughter has just finished her first year in school so this really helped her to want to keep reading and build her confidence over the holidays, ready for the new school year.” (Parent of five year old girl, Newport.)

“It has always been hard to encourage my son to read, but with the reading challenge, he was very keen to read and it was hard to get him to put the book down! He is on the autistic spectrum and this challenge really enthralled him.” (Parent of ten year old boy, Ryde.)

All children who earned a medal and certificate were invited to write a review or draw a picture of their favourite book of the summer. The best entry from each library was chosen and the winning children were recently invited to a prize-giving hosted at Lord Louis Library, Newport, by Isle of Wight Council chairman, Councillor Lora Peacey-Wilcox.

The winners across the Island libraries are:
Ellie Attwell; Clarissa Flanders; Lara Hosier; Joshua Hurst; Olivia Menzies; Sophia Newnham; Tom Newnham; Daisy Parkinson; Mallory Peace; Claudia ; Edward Sun and Adam Rutherford.

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The Animal Agents Summer Reading Challenge winners.
The Animal Agents Summer Reading Challenge winners.
  • This year’s challenge saw an amazing 2,592 children sign up for Animal Agents, the Summer Reading Challenge 2017.
Isle of Wight, UK