Children are being invited to sign up to read six books this summer as part of The Big Friendly Read, Summer Reading Challenge 2016. Wiltshire Council is calling all four to 11 year olds to borrow and read any six library books over the summer. The challenge has a new theme each year, and this year it is delivered in collaboration with The Roald Dahl Literary Estate to celebrate 100 years of the world’s favourite storyteller. It will feature some of Roald Dahl’s best-loved characters and the amazing artwork of his principal illustrator, Sir Quentin Blake. To take part, children can sign up for free at their nearest library. Every child will receive a special collector’s folder after their first book and six special cards as they borrow and read at least six library books over the summer. The cards all feature original Quentin Blake illustrations and explore some of most popular themes in Roald Dahl’s books such as invention, mischief and friendship. Children who read four books will get special ‘rainbow making’ glasses and after six books a medal and certificate. The Big Friendly Read Summer Reading Challenge launches in libraries across Wiltshire on Saturday 16 July and runs until Saturday 10 September. Jonathon Seed, cabinet member for libraries, said: “This is an incredibly popular and successful annual reading activity and we look forward to seeing even more children take part during this special year celebrating Roald Dahl’s centenary. I would also like to thank all the volunteers who give their precious time to support this programme.” Wiltshire Council is hoping to top last year when over 10,000 local children signed up for the challenge – now in its 14th year. In 2015 10,280 Wiltshire children took part in the Record Breakers Challenge and 42,150 books were read in Wiltshire over the summer as part of it. More than 1,300 joined the library in order to take part in the challenge. Parents and carers really embrace the challenge – which has proven to make a real difference to reading ability and confidence for many children: “I find the reading challenge is a fantastic way of keeping my children connected with reading throughout the summer hols! The helpers are amazing – always ready to put my daughter at ease as she feels quite shy talking about the books. She loves getting the stickers, especially the smelly ones! And of course, the medal at the end” (mum from Trowbridge, 2015) Wiltshire will again be supported by more than 200 special volunteers of all ages who help the children taking part in the challenge. Families can also unlock some digital magic when they download the free Summer Reading Challenge App, which this year will include rare recordings of Roald Dahl sharing his writing tips and reading aloud, all triggered by augmented reality as children collect the cards. Created by Reading Agency sponsor SOLUS, the app will also provide a convenient way to access the Book Sorter, a unique crowd-sourced database of books in user friendly categories that children themselves have rated and added. There will be additional events and activities planned at various libraries to celebrate the Summer Reading Challenge, including the Bradford on Avon Mini Book Festival from 15 to 16 July (featuring a number of local children’s authors) and Roald Dahl Day at Chippenham library on Friday, 5 August.