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The Reading Challenges and Schools


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!

Visit our Shop to download your free Winter Mini Challenge resources pack (also available in Welsh). The pack includes promotional posters, social media assets and a communications toolkit so you can start building the excitement amongst your young readers! It also includes a Winter Mini Challenge completer’s certificate, so you can prepare to join in the fun in your library, school, reading group or activity club. Check back again soon for a themed reading record and activity sheets.


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.

This year, Silly Squad, the Summer Reading Challenge 2020, will celebrate funny books, happiness and laughter. Children taking part in the Challenge will join 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 will feature 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 will launch as a digital activity to keep children reading over the summer and support parents and carers with children already at home. The Challenge will run 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 will be free to access, featuring games, quizzes and digital and downloadable activities to incentivise and encourage children and their families to take part in treading related activities at home. Although library buildings are closed, libraries will also continue to deliver the Challenge through virtual services and e-lending platforms.

With school life disrupted and many children missing the company of their friends, this year’s fun-filled Summer Reading Challenge will be 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.


How do schools benefit?

The Challenge is free for children to take part in and is accessible for primary-aged children of all different reading levels.

By getting your pupils involved in the Summer Reading Challenge, your school can:


  • Enhance and support the school’s reading initiatives and involve parents and the wider community.
  • Continue to support pupils’ learning in a fun, creative and child-directed way.
  • Help to prevent the trend for children’s reading skills to dip over the summer.
  • Encourage pupils and families to join their library, and to browse, choose and borrow books for free through their e-lending platforms.
  • Make great links with your local library staff who can support you in your work with families and reading.
  • Ensure your pupils return to school ready for a great start to the new academic year.
  • Provide further opportunities in the holidays for activities that link to the reading, comprehension and spoken language recommendations in the national curricula in England, Scotland and Wales
  • Provide evidence to OFSTED of your school’s involvement in community initiatives and social and cultural activities


How do schools get their pupils involved?

You can:

  • Encourage families to take part in the Challenge by talking about it in your letters or emails home and providing a link on your school website.
  • Celebrate the achievements of pupils who participate in the Challenge when they return to school.
  • Inspire your pupils by getting staff to also read and talk about books themselves. It’s a great way for teachers to develop their knowledge of children’s literature.

Click here to find out more about our updated Summer Reading Challenge 2020 plans


Chatterbooks

We also co-ordinate a national network of book groups for children called Chatterbooks. Visit chatterbooks.org.uk for more information and free resources to set up a book group in your school.


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.


Useful links

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

Our mission is to tackle life’s big challenges through the proven power of reading. Find out more about the Summer Reading Challenge and The Reading Agency’s work with children here