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Libraries launch Big Friendly reading challenge

Local youngsters are being encouraged to visit their local library over the summer holidays to take part in this year’s Summer Reading Challenge.

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Libraries in Powys are launching the Big Friendly Read this summer as part of the Summer Reading Challenge, which is aimed for children aged 4-11. The theme for 2016 is centred around the centenary celebrations of the UK’s most prolific and popular children’s author – Roald Dahl.

The Big Friendly Read challenges children to read six books over the summer holiday.  Youngsters who participate will gain stickers along the way and will also receive medals, certificates and prizes when they complete the challenge.

Libraries have a wide range of books available for children from picture books, graphic story books and easy reads, to great fiction titles and information books. They also have a 24/7 downloadable digital e-book and e-audio book service, which is great if you’re going away as you can download several books at once.

E-audio books are good to listen to on journeys, passing the time enjoyably as well as helping to extend vocabulary, context and word definition. Importantly, reading books is a great past time – a great way to relax and to stretch the mind.

Trish Thomas, Powys County Council’s Reader Development Librarian, said: “This challenge is a fun thing to do, developing imagination, sharing ideas and thinking. When you see a child literally take off with their reading, you just know it was worth spending that quality time with them to help them to become independent readers. Even if they don’t, they will remember the fun of reading with someone and also sharing their thoughts.

“We want to build on the enjoyable reading experience and love of Roald Dahl’s books with craft activities, stickers to mark reading achievement, medals and a certificate for those completing the challenge. There is also a prize draw and it’s all free!”

Interactive story telling has been scheduled at many libraries across the authority including the popular Pyjama Drama group who will be re-telling favourite Roald Dahl stories with drama sessions at six key libraries in Powys during the holidays. There will be mask making and craft activities in several libraries.

This year, we welcome more Young Volunteer Reading Activists to support reading, choosing books, storytelling and assisting with events. These young adults are here by choice to add their support the challenge and those that take part.

Cllr Graham Brown, Powys County Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Library Services, said: ““It’s important for children to keep up with their reading and be encouraged when they are also out of the school environment. There is a marked dip in reading with pupils, which becomes apparent when they return to school in September.

“So this positive campaign – which broke its own record last year on numbers completing in Powys alone, is well worth doing. I ask every parent/guardian, relative and teacher to encourage every child to take it up as part of their summer holiday.”

The council’s Library Service has also teamed up with Freedom Leisure centres in Powys – who, as well as providing a sporting challenge of their own this summer, have generously provided free family swim vouchers for those who have completed the challenge.

The Summer Reading Challenge, which started on Saturday 9 July, will run until Saturday 10 September.

For more information ask at your local library or log onto www.powys.gov.uk/library

Powys Council

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