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Information for Parents and Carers

Here you can find information about your child taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge and Winter Mini Challenge and about using this website.

What is the Winter Mini Challenge?

The Winter Mini Challenge encourages children to keep up their reading habits over the winter holidays, with a free-to-access website featuring rewards and incentives for reading and reviewing books.

Over the school holidays children can experience a ‘dip’ in reading skills and learning, and due to the disruption to education caused by Covid-19, this year is set to have an even greater impact on learning loss.

This winter we are very excited to team up with award-winning inclusive publisher Knights Of  to run an Everyone Is A Hero themed Mini Challenge to celebrate heroes in all their forms and keep children reading this winter.

The Winter Mini Challenge starts on Tuesday 1 December 2020 and finishes on Friday 15 January 2021.

This year’s Mini Challenge features characters from books published by Knights Of, including those from Knights and Bikes (written by Gabrielle Kent; illustrated by Rex Crowle), High-Rise Mystery (written by Sharna Jackson; illustrated by Wumzum), and the Run series (written by Jason Reynolds; illustrated by Selom Sunu).

To take part, children simply read three or more books – these can be any books of their choice. Every time they finish a book, they add it to their Challenge website profile and leave a short book review.

Reaching their online reading goal will unlock a virtual badge and a special Everyone Is A Hero certificate to print off and keep!

What is the Summer Reading Challenge?

The Summer Reading Challenge, presented by The Reading Agency and funded by Arts Council England, encourages children aged 4 to 11 to set themselves a reading challenge to help prevent the summer reading ‘dip’.

Each year the Challenge, delivered with the support of public libraries, motivates over 700,000 children to keep reading to build their skills and confidence.

For the Summer Reading Challenge 2020, the theme was Silly Squad, celebrating funny books, happiness and laughter. Children taking part in the Challenge joined the Silly Squad, an adventurous team of animals who love to have a laugh and get stuck in to all different kinds of funny books!

The 2020 Challenge featured bespoke artwork from award-winning children’s author and illustrator Laura Ellen Anderson (Amelia Fang; Evil Emperor Penguin; I Don’t Want Curly Hair).

With the disruption caused by COVID-19 and the impact of social distancing on schools and public libraries, the 2020 Challenge launched as a digital activity to keep children reading over the summer and support parents and carers with children already at home. The Challenge ran from June to September, launching with a week of activity from Monday 1 June and culminating in an official launch day of curated events on Friday 5 June 2020.

The digital Challenge was free to access, featuring games, quizzes and digital and downloadable activities to incentivise and encourage children and their families to take part in reading related activities at home. Although library buildings were closed, libraries continued to deliver the Challenge through virtual services and e-lending platforms.

With school life disrupted and many children missing the company of their friends, the Summer Reading Challenge 2020 was all the more vital as a way of helping parents and carers find fun, family-friendly activities, maintain literacy levels and create a safe space for children to connect with their peers.

The theme for the Summer Reading Challenge 2021 will be announced in the New Year.

Why is reading for pleasure important?

  • Currently, 1 in 5 children in England cannot read well by the age of 11. We know that reading for fun improves literacy.
  • Reading for pleasure is more important to children’s academic success than their parents’ level of education or socio-economic status.
  • Embedding a love of reading in children can help their wellbeing later in life. 19% of adult readers say that reading stops them feeling lonely.
  • Studies have found that those who read for pleasure have higher levels of empathy, greater self-esteem and are better able to cope with difficult situations.

Explore more reading facts here

The Summer Reading Challenge and Winter Mini Challenge website

The Summer Reading Challenge and Winter Mini Challenge website allows your child to keep track of the books they have read during the summer and beyond.

Your child’s safety

Your child’s online safety is paramount to us.

When your child signs up for a Reading Challenge website account, as the parent or guardian of the child we need you to confirm their registration. This is to comply with the latest data protection laws.

Signing up to the Summer Reading Challenge and Winter Mini Challenge website

When your child signs up for a website account, we ask them to provide an email address for a parent or carer. We then send you an email asking you to approve their account.

  • To approve your child’s account, you will need a Reading Agency Passport account of your own – this is so we can link your account to your child’s for security.
  • If you don’t have a Reading Agency Passport account, you can sign up for one here, or follow the instructions in the approval email we send you.
  • Once you’re logged in to your Passport account, follow the instructions in the approval email to complete your child’s registration.
  • Their account will then appear linked to yours under the ‘Children’ tab on your profile page, and they will be able to log in.
  • You can manage your child’s account details – including usernames and passwords – through the ‘Children’ tab on your profile.

Website screen names

When your child joins the Summer Reading Challenge and Winter Mini Challenge website they are automatically assigned a random screen name (for example, “Professor Iggy Wellington”).

This screen name will be displayed at the top of the page when they sign in and will appear against any content they post to the website.

Every child is given a random screen name to help keep them anonymous.

Children can choose their own username and password when registering for the website and these details will allow them to sign in. The screen name is randomly allocated and helps protect the identity of children who may enter their real name as their username.

If the date of birth your child has registered with indicates they are an adult, their screen name will automatically display as Anonymous.

How we use your information

The email address we collect when a new account is created is never passed on to third parties. We use this email address to enable children who have forgotten their username and/or password to access the site again. For children who enter a competition, we will use it to let them know if they have won a prize.

The Book Sorter provides reading recommendations based on books other children have enjoyed. All the books have been recommended, rated and reviewed by children using this website. We ask children to submit a date of birth when they register so that Book Sorter recommendations can be tailored for different age groups. We do not use this information for anything else.

Children have the option of posting messages to the Chat page to tell us how they’re getting on with the Summer Reading Challenge and Winter Mini Challenge and share the books they are enjoying with other readers. All messages sent through Chat go directly to our moderator, and nothing is displayed on the site that breaks the rules of our strict code of conduct.

Children cannot message each other independently – they can only send messages via the Chat page (and through our moderator).

We never use children’s real names or allow messages with real names to be posted on our site. Similarly any personal information such as addresses and phone numbers are never displayed. Messages containing any personal information will be blocked by our moderators.

You can read our full privacy policy here.

Find out what is happening throughout the summer and in other parts of the country

Like our page on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to keep up with the latest Summer Reading Challenge news and to access special offers and competitions from our publisher partners.

Helping more children take part

It only costs £3 for The Reading Agency and libraries to provide the Summer Reading Challenge free of charge to three children.
If your child enjoys taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge, then please help us bring the joy of reading and the fun of the Challenge to even more children. Please donate £3 to help us reach another three children.

You can donate by visiting

  • The Reading Agency receives 100% of your donation. Obtain bill payer’s permission. Customer care 08448479800. Charity No 1085443.

Make space for reading this summer

The Summer Reading Challenge is a great time to share and talk about books as a family and to celebrate your child’s reading achievements. Sitting down with your own book, newspaper or magazine sets a good example to kids – they will copy you – and reading a book together can really encourage a love of stories.

Discover adult reading lists and book reviews on The Reading Agency’s Find a book page.

Useful links

For general questions about the Summer Reading Challenge and Winter Mini Challenge and using this website, visit the Reading Challenge website help page

At The Reading Agency we help people of all ages tackle life’s big challenges through the proven power of reading.
Find out more about our work here.

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