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Worcestershire rises to the Challenge

Published Wednesday, 7th December 2016

The results of the Summer Reading Challenge are in, and they make happy reading for Worcestershire Libraries. The County has emerged joint first in the West Midlands for the number of children completing the challenge, first for the number of young volunteers involved and second for the number of books issued over the summer.

Worcestershire figures across the board were up from 2015, with more children participating, more completing the challenge, more volunteers and more books issued.  This year in Worcestershire alone 3888 children took part and 71% completed the challenge, an increase of 14% from last year.  An amazing 190,374 books were issued and 238 new members signed up.  And an impressive 279 young volunteers helped out in libraries across the county and at the special events held at National Trust Croome.

The West Midlands as a whole also performed very well, with 100% of library authorities participating. Overall 50,593 children took part and over 30,000 completed the challenge. More than 2,000 additional children under the age of 4 also took part in the mini-challenge, 415 of these were from Worcestershire.

Worcestershire's results from the Reading Agency's family participation survey were also were very positive, demonstrating that families really value and enjoy taking part in the Challenge, that it increases the amount that families talk about and read books over the summer and it promotes library usage.

Parents of children taking part said: "Amazing, it has transformed by son's attitude towards books.  He is now a confident rather than a reluctant reader and has moved up 4 levels of books as a result."  Another commented: "It is great that audio books can also count as both my children are dyslexic but love listening to stories."  And another said: "Awesome. The expertise of the library staff and volunteers in encouraging and supporting children is tremendous."

Children taking part said: "Brilliant. It really helped me read lots of books. I have been stuck on silver band at school and you have really helped me read better. I think I will move up a reading band soon because of you."  And another said: "It was very very enjoyable."

Cllr Lucy Hodgson, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Localism and Communities, said: We are really very pleased and proud of these results.  Each year more and more children are getting involved and benefiting from this scheme.  The Challenge is a brilliant incentive, encouraging children to read over the long summer holiday when reading abilities can dip.  And our library staff and volunteers are excellent at helping the children discover the enjoyment of reading".

Co-ordinated by The Reading Agency, The Summer Reading Challenge encourages children in England, Scotland and Wales to read six books during the summer holiday. There is a different theme each year. Children can read whatever they like - fact books, joke books, picture books, audio books - just as long as they are borrowed from the library. Children receive special rewards each time they finish a book and there is a certificate for everyone who completes the Challenge.