The Summer Reading Challenge 2017 ended on the Saturday 9 September. This year's event saw record breaking participation, with an amazing 21,681 children signing up to take part across the County.
The challenge took place throughout the summer holidays and consisted of children signing up to their local library for free, to read six books of their choice, as well as being provided with a fun activity sheet, where they receive and log any awards along the way. Once completed, children attend a Summer Reading Ceremony where they receive a special certificate and medal to return to school with.
Head of HR Strategy, Policy and Development, Caroline Butler signed her daughter up to the Challenge in Hertford library.
She said "My six year old did it as her teacher encouraged them to, it was fab! The staff in Hertford Library were really friendly and took a real interest in my daughter, the books she read and what she thought about them. She also absolutely loved the medal at the end!"
Many children have proudly taken their medals into school, influencing others to take part in the next summer challenge. Health Improvement Lead in Public Health, Bethan Clemence saw her son proudly taking his medal in when starting the new term. She said "My 6 year old is very proud of his medal, he took it into school show and tell this week. We've struggled to get him interested in his school home reading so I'm pleasantly surprised he stuck with it."
Volunteers taking part in the challenge receive full training and range from all backgrounds and ages. Providing a welcoming and fun approach to the challenge they interact with children individually to encourage reading and listen to children speaking about each book. Volunteers also assist in helping children to find new and exciting books and to provide parents with additional library information.
Witnessing her Daughter's experience of the challenge Caroline also said, "She liked Horrid Henry and the Football Fiend as she had seen this on TV but not read any of the books. The lady was asking her why she chose it and what she liked and didn't like about how Henry could sometimes be naughty and what she thought about that. She also liked the football teams - both watching and playing - so the book was very engaging!"
The Stevenage library was also prominent for its friendly volunteers. Head of Hertfordshire Business Services, Glenn Facey, who used the Stevenage library over the summer notes "My little boy did the challenge, he really enjoyed it and the staff were really positive and it was great to see my little boy telling them about the books he had read. He loves his medal!"
A popular time proven to read was when children were travelling on holiday and day trips away. The son of Danielle Bailey, Senior Project Manager used the challenge for her son during her family holiday. She said "My little boy did the challenge, it was brilliant! We used it as time to get him out of the sun on holiday and he read all 6 books during that time! The wrist band and the scratch and sniff stickers were a great incentive!"
The next Summer Reading Challenge takes place at the beginning of the 2018 summer holidays. For more information visit the Summer Reading Challenge website.