Animal Agents is the theme of this year’s Summer Reading Challenge, run by Bradford Council’s Library Service, in July and August.
The challenge is a national libraries initiative, delivered by libraries in partnership with the Reading Agency. It aims to encourage children aged four to 11 to continue to read throughout the summer holiday. Research has shown that it improves children’s enjoyment of reading, confidence and motivation and helps prevent a dip in their literacy skills after the summer break.
Last year, over 4,200 children in Bradford took part in the challenge and almost 600 joined a library especially to start the challenge, giving Bradford the second highest number of new library members in the region.
The Animal Agents theme is illustrated by best-selling children’s author Tony Ross, author and illustrator of the Little Princess series. He has also illustrated for children’s books by David Walliams, Francesca Simon’s Horrid Henry series and Jeanne Willis’ Dr Xargle books.
All kinds of clever animals work for the Animal Agents detective agency and young readers can ‘join’ too. They will then receive a wallet and stickers. There are also bookmarks, fortune tellers, key rings and wristbands to collect. Every child who reads six books will receive a certificate and medal, featuring Tony Ross’ artwork.
Among this year’s activities include story telling sessions of Martin Waddell’s ‘Owl Babies’ by Simon Kerrigan and Sian Williams; Dogs’ Trust Workshops; The Ultimate Animal Discovery Challenge; art workshops and ‘Zoo Lab’ sessions which involve handling real live exotic animals.
The challenge will be officially launched on Wednesday 12 July at Manningham Library by the Lord Mayor of Bradford and Lady Mayoress, Coun Abid Hussain and Shahnaz Akhtar. The challenge itself begins in libraries on Saturday 15 July.
More information on the workshops, their dates and venues can be found in the Animal Agents Summer Reading Challenge Booklet, which is available to download at www.bradford.gov.uk/libraries
Coun Sarah Ferriby, Executive Member for Environment, Sport and Culture, said: “The Summer Reading Challenge is always a fun and interesting activity. As well as being a great way of getting children into books, it prevents them forgetting what they have learnt over the long summer break and gives them a great sense of achievement.”