The summer holidays are the perfect time to get stuck into reading, and for children of all ages it is important to maintain reading over the summer so as to avoid the dreaded "summer slide.”
Throughout lockdown, with schools offering differing levels of home work and support, the one thing all schools and teachers were absolutely clear on was reading. Many told stressed parents that reading every day should be the only thing they really worried about, and that if your child read a little every day the rest of their school work would not suffer too much from being away from school for so long.
Usually the Summer Reading Challenge is done through local libraries, with children of all ages signing up to complete 6 books over the course of the holiday. Upon finishing each book, children would then bring the book to the library and chat about it with the librarian before being given a sticker to go onto their record for the challenge.
Obviously this year, libraries are only just beginning to open, and many are unsure whether smaller libraries will be able to open under the current coronavirus guidelines.
The Summer Reading Challenge is still going ahead though, and is accessible through the website: https://summerreadingchallenge.org.uk/
Here your child can sign up for the challenge, set their own goal and come back to record each book they read.
This is a great opportunity to keep children engaged in reading over the summer, trying out new and different books. According to the Summer Reading Challenge website, one fifth of children in England are not able to read well by the age of 11. The website also states that reading for pleasure is more important to children’s academic success than their socio-economic status or their parents’ level of education.
You may be wary of allowing your child to use the site, but it has been set up so that children must link their Reading Challenge account to a parent. You then give permission for them to have an account, and can manage any personal data collected on their behalf. When your child joins the Challenge they are able to choose their own "Silly Squad” screen name. This is then used as their name when they post any content to the site - rather than their real name.
When your child records the books they have read they are also invited to give it a score, and even to write a short review of the book. This is great practice for them not only in writing but in learning to describe a book, to think critically about it, to list what they did or did not like about it and so on.