Children’s reading challenge encourages hundreds of youngsters to join local libraries
28 October 2021
Hundreds of Cheshire East youngsters have joined their local library and got switched on to books after this year’s great summer reading challenge.
The council’s library service has now published the figures for the 2021 event, which was extended into September to allow more time for children to take part because of Covid and the disruption caused by the need to isolate.
More than 172,350 physical and digital items were borrowed and 1,685 children became library members. A total of 4,390 young people took part with an additional 326 youngsters participating online.
This year’s challenge took on an environmental and wildlife theme. ‘Wild World Heroes’ was a celebration of nature and action for the environment, with prizes donated by the Cheshire adventure park, BeWILDerwood.
The Summer Reading Challenge is organised each year by the Reading Agency and involves local libraries across the UK. The 2021 programme was able to take place within the borough’s libraries, unlike last year when the event could only be run online.
Many of the borough’s libraries ran additional events such as nature and story walks with nearly 80 volunteers providing support. Self-guided nature walks involved children collecting activity sheets and non-fiction nature books and going out to their local park to spot various things to complete them.
The story walks were more like a treasure hunt where children needed to search for posters of famous book characters and read excerpts of text and respond to questions on their activity sheets. Both these activities took place outside, providing not only excellent mental stimulation but also excellent physical and mental health benefits to all those involved.
Jo Shannon, Cheshire East Council library services manager, said: “I’m delighted at the number of children who participated in this year’s summer reading challenge, despite the changes we had to make to various activities and award ceremonies, owing to the pandemic.
“Many children in Cheshire East enjoy reading and it is fantastic that so many young people signed up to become library members. Parents recognise how important this is to a child’s development and have told me how much more their children are reading as a result of the challenge.”
Councillor Mick Warren, chair of Cheshire East Council’s environment and communities committee, said: “The development of children through reading and associated activities is so important to our families in the borough and I am personally delighted that our library service has, once again, run a highly successful reading challenge and succeeded in recruiting more young people as library members.
One eight-year-old boy said: “When I first came to the library, I was not that much into reading but I soon got more into it. Now I read a lot more.”
If you would like to become a member of your local library, please call in to visit us at any time. Alternatively, you can apply online at www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/libraries