Join the Animal Agents this summer at Wiltshire libraries

Join the Animal Agents this summer at Wiltshire libraries

Wiltshire Council libraries are inviting children across the county to sign up and read six books as part of Animal Agents, this year’s Summer Reading Challenge.

The Summer Reading Challenge invites 4-11-year-olds to borrow and read any six library books during the summer holiday period.

This year’s theme is Animal Agents, a detective agency staffed by clever animals who are out to crack a case at the library with a little help from their friends. Tony Ross, the UK’s best-selling children’s illustrator and the artist behind Horrid Henry, has created this year’s exclusive artwork. To take part in Animal Agents, children need to do visit their local library, where they will be given a membership card, and then, once they’ve read their first book, they’ll receive a collector folder to keep a record of their reading journey. As children read their selected library books, they can collect stickers that will help them to crack the clues and assist the Animal Agents to crack the case.

Animal Agents launches in libraries across Wiltshire on Saturday 15 July and runs until Saturday 9 September. Wiltshire Council is hoping to exceed last year’s participation, which saw almost 10,000 children sign up for the Big Friendly Read challenge and read 42,110 books. Parents and carers embrace the challenge as it makes a real difference improving reading ability and confidence levels. A local parent said: “The Summer Reading Challenge is brilliant for kids to help improve their reading and gives them a challenge over the summer holidays. All the kids I know really enjoy doing it.” There will also be a range of children’s activities in a number of Wiltshire libraries over the summer to celebrate the Summer Reading Challenge. Bradford on Avon will be holding a Mini Book Festival for children on Saturday 15 July; in Malmesbury the first ever Children and Young People’s Book Festival will take place from 1 to 5 August. 200 volunteers will help children taking part in the challenge. John Thomson, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for libraries, said: “This is an incredibly popular and successful annual reading activity for children and we welcome more participants taking part this year. I would also like to thank all the volunteers who give their time and energy to help support this valuable reading programme that we know helps to improve the literacy of many children.”

The Reading Agency is the leading national charity inspiring people of all ages and backgrounds to read for pleasure and wellbeing. Working with partners such as the public library service, our aim is to make reading accessible to everyone. The Reading Agency is funded by the Arts Council.

The Reading Agency runs the annual Summer Reading Challenge in partnership with the Society of Chief Librarians. This national reading for pleasure programme is now in its 19th year. Last year, over 750,000 children across the UK took part by borrowing, reading and talking about their favourite books.

The Summer Reading Challenge reaches children and young people of all ages. For the pre-schoolers there is a mini-challenge, while young people (aged 13 to 24) can volunteer and support younger children taking part, as part of The Reading Agency’s Reading Hack programme. Volunteering provides a quality workplace experience for young people in libraries, inspires them to think about their future career and increases their employability as they gain useful life skills and confidence. Last year more than 7,500 young people across the UK volunteered.

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