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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 2021 Challenge launched in libraries in Scotland on Saturday 19 June and in libraries in England and Wales on Saturday 10 July. Finish dates and reward items vary by location, so we recommend getting in touch with your local library service to find out more about the Challenge in your area.

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

Empress and Aniya writing competition for young people in Lewisham!

The Reading Agency and inclusive publisher Knights Of are asking young people aged 11 to 16 who live or attend school in the London Borough of Lewisham to write 500 words on why their best friend is great. Whether it’s because their jokes never fail to crack you up, or that they always save you their last Morley’s chip, we want to hear what makes them downright awesome. The winner will receive two signed copies of Empress & Aniya, the brand-new Young Adult novel from bestselling author, Candice Carty-Williams, plus a bundle of other treats to enjoy together!

Empress & Aniya tells the story of two south London teenagers who, when they accidentally cast a spell on their 16th birthday and end up switching bodies, quickly learn that friendship is the most important magic of all. South London’s answer to ‘Freaky Friday’, Empress & Aniya is a moving portrayal of the importance of real friendship and the ups and downs of being a teenager.

Download the free competition pack, which includes a promotional poster for your school or library, here.

Empress and Aniya competition

Free resources to share with your class

Visit our Resources Bank to download free materials including book lists, teaching resources, activity sheets and videos. The Resources Bank is updated with new items every week, so check back regularly!

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.

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.

Fantastically Great Women: Scientists and Their Stories was chosen as a recommendation for the Wild World Heroes Summer Reading Challenge! Check out more recommendations here.

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.

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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