Family Life Summer

Free Summer activities with the kids – Summer Reading Challenge

Summer Reading Challenge

I think you can always tell when the Summer holiday has started because we’ve signed up for the Summer Reading Challenge at our local library! Have you heard of the Summer Reading Challenge? It’s the UK’s biggest reading promotion for children aged four to eleven and runs over the summer holidays. It’s completely free to sign up, although you will need to be a member of the library first (which is also free!).

Free Summer activities with the kids – Summer Reading Challenge

As a bit of a bookworm myself, both my children were signed up to the library within their first weeks. Reading is perfect escapism for me and I love to read with my children. Before they started school we always went to the pre-school reading time at our local library and the staff still recognise them even now! Our local library is amazing as well as weekly rhyme time sessions for pre-schoolers, they also fully embrace the Summer Reading Challenge each year.

a visit to the library

The Summer Reading Challenge started in 1999 and is organised by The Reading Agency with the public library network. Each year there is a different theme and this year is called Mischief Makers, inspired by the much-loved iconic children’s title Beano, which celebrates its 80th anniversary this year.

Free Summer activities with the kids - Summer Reading Challenge

The idea behind the Summer Reading Challenge is quite simple – to keep children reading and engaged during the summer holidays when it’s so easy for them to let everything slide. I think it’s a lovely idea and perfect for keeping my children engaged with learning over the school holidays. It’s presented in a really fun way which means my children don’t even realise they are learning!

It’s so simple to join. Just pop along to your local library and sign up. Take 6 books out during the Challenge and pick up incentives along the way. We signed up on Saturday and were given a Mischief Makers booklet, Mischief Makers bookmark and a Starborg card (these are a little like Top Trumps).

collecting Starborg cards

We’ve taken part for the last few years and there’s even a special challenge for pre-schoolers. The first time we signed up my daughter was 3 but thankfully there was a special sticker she could collect on each visit so she didn’t feel left out! On each visit you can collect little rewards and more Starborg cards. There are also some really fun events such as special activities, book readings and performances you can attend (also for free!).

Summer Reading Challenge medal

It really is a great scheme and the little rewards are a great incentive. At the end of the Challenge children can collect a medal and certificate and my children always take theirs into school as they put the certificates on display. You can add and rate the books you’ve read and get more recommendations from the online Book Sorter. We have a busy Summer planned but 6 visits to the library can easily be squeezed in.

What do you think? Do you enjoy the Summer Reading Challenge as much as we do? Find out more about it here.

You may also be interested in our other ideas for the Summer holidays:

how to make a Summer smash book

painting and hiding kindness rocks

i-SPY activity books for kids.


  • Reply
    July 16, 2018 at 8:13 am

    I remember taking part in summer reading challenges when I was little. I loved going to the library! Sadly our one isn’t so close so I don’t go as often anymore.

  • Reply
    July 16, 2018 at 8:18 am

    Oh what a fun challenger and a great way to keep kids reading and improving their skills over the summer!


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