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Summer Reading Challenge 2021

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.

By encouraging your pupils to take part in the Summer Reading Challenge, your school can:

  • Enhance and support its reading initiatives and involve parents and the wider community
  • Celebrate the joy of reading whilst ensuring all children are able to read well by the age of 11
  • Continue to support pupils’ learning during the holidays
  • Help to prevent the trend for children’s reading skills to dip over the holidays

Download our quick guide on encouraging children to read for enjoyment here.

Each year the Summer Reading Challenge has a different theme. For 2021, The Reading Agency is partnering with WWF for Wild World Heroes, a nature-themed Challenge that will inspire children to engage with environmental issues. Find out more about Wild World Heroes here.

The Challenge will launch in libraries in Scotland on Saturday 19 June and in libraries in England and Wales on Saturday 10 July.

Stay up to date with news about the Challenge and other exciting offers on our Facebook page

Wild World Heroes Resources

We have a range of schools’ resources to support with promoting the Challenge and helping your pupils become Wild World Heroes!

Download our 2021 Schools Pack to find out more about this year’s Challenge, the benefits to your pupils and how to take part.

Our Assembly Presentations are a great way to introduce the Summer Reading Challenge and this year’s theme to your pupils. These presentations can be shared in class or on remote learning platforms. Or, use the colour in activity sheet to send pupils home with a personalised Wild World Heroes invitation.

You can also use our helpful Newsletter Template to promote the Challenge on the school website or in newsletters sent home to families.

To help get your students excited about the Challenge use our downloadable Wild World Heroes Posters

Build your self-confidence with Natalie Costa!

Join award-winning education coach and author of the Level Headers book series, Natalie Costa, for this free online workshop, helping children to understand and manage their feelings in a healthy and shame-free way.

Register here!

Free resources to share with your class

Visit our Resources Bank to download free materials including book lists, teaching resources, activity sheets and videos.

This year, the children’s mental health charity Place2Be are spotlighting the importance of self-expression. The Express Yourself Booklist shares 45 brilliant books that will support conversations around feelings and inspire children and young people to express themselves.

The booklist covers all ages, with suggestions for picture books, middle grade books and teen/YA titles. Download the booklist here.

Toto the Ninja Cat and the Mystery Jewel Thief

Can Toto and her friends defeat an unexpected villain and bring a thief to justice?

Hachette Children’s Group would like to offer the Toto the Ninja Cat resources pack which includes lesson materials, chapter extracts and creative activities, with additional video content from Dermot O’Leary and Nick East to come. Download your pack here.

Children of the Benin Kingdom

Join Ada on an action-packed adventure, as she journeys deep into the rainforest to discover the ancient Edo kingdom of Benin and attempts to heal the terrible divisions that are tearing the kingdom apart.

The historical Benin Kingdom is now an option for UK primary teachers at KS2 and is a great option for those who are keen to diversify their curriculum. This resource pack from Dinosaur Books aims to support the teaching of this topic and promote activities inspired by Dinah Orji’s novel. Download your pack here.

What Did the Tree See?

One majestic oak has seen it all, and now we can too.

Written in rhyming verse by Charlotte Guillain and illustrated by Sam Usher, this beautiful non-fiction picture book follows the story of an oak tree on a hilltop as it witnesses life changing around it over the course of hundreds of years.

The Teacher Resource Pack contains a range of activities suitable for KS1 and KS2. Download your pack here.

Fantastically Great Women: Scientists and Their Stories

The brilliant Kate Pankhurst, descendent of Emmeline Pankhurst, tells the stories of some incredible female scientists whose hard work and persistence changed our understanding of science, and transformed people’s ideas of what women can do.

Bloomsbury Children’s Books have created a wonderful resource pack which includes a range of projects and activities perfect for celebrating International Women’s Day and International Science Week! Download your pack here.

Become a Reading Spy with Maz Evans’s Licence to Chill

To save her family – and the world – from evil domination, Vi must turn spy…

To celebrate the arrival of Maz Evans’s VI SPY: LICENCE TO CHILL, Chicken House have put together a whole host of VI SPY-themed educational materials. These resources will develop reading comprehension, inference skills and creative writing, helping your students become…Reading Spies!

You can find all the Reading Spies materials on Chicken House’s Schools Hub here.

The Forest of Moon and Sword

When Art’s mother is accused of witchcraft and captured, she is determined to get her back – at any cost.

The Forest of Moon and Sword is a lyrical tale of courage and friendship with folklore at its heart, written by incredible new talent Amy Raphael and beautifully illustrated by August Ro.

This resource pack from Hachette Children’s Group includes extracts and activities suitable for KS2. Download your pack here.


The Teachers’ Reading Challenge

Join your own challenge by signing up for the Teachers’ Reading Challenge, running from July 2021 – September 2021. Get rewards, resources and start conversations with other teachers as you discover brilliant children’s books this summer.

Resources and recommendations from the 2020 Challenge are still available for you to access too!

Sign up to our Teachers Mailing List! You’ll receive a monthly Teacher’s Newsletter, full of interesting news, information about the Teachers’ Reading Challenge and useful tools and tips.


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The Reading Agency also co-ordinates a national network of reading groups for children called Chatterbooks.

Find out more about the resources available for you to set up your own children’s reading group here.

Visit our Shop to order a Chatterbooks group leader toolkit and to see our latest reading group offers. You can also find hundreds of free resources including reading group guides and activity packs on our resources page.

If you would like more information about Chatterbooks please get in touch

Reading Well for children

Reading Well for children provides quality-assured information, stories and advice to support children’s mental health and wellbeing. Books have been chosen and recommended by leading health professionals and co-produced with children and families.

The booklist is targeted at children in Key Stage 2 (aged 7-11), but includes titles aimed at a wide range of reading levels to support less confident readers, and to encourage children to read together with their siblings and carers.

Find out more about the scheme and access supporting resources here.

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