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Thousands take part in Big Friendly Read in Wiltshire libraries

Thousands take part in Big Friendly Read in Wiltshire libraries

Nearly 10,000 of Wiltshire’s children took part in this year’s Big Friendly Read Summer Reading Challenge, which takes place annually to support children’s reading over the summer holidays.   This is the fifteenth year Wiltshire Council libraries has run the national scheme managed by the Reading Agency where children aged four to 11 are challenged to read six books of their choice over the holidays and receive rewards along the way.   This year 9,744 took part with 6,179 finishing the challenge by reading six books, an increase of 3% on finishers last year. Over 39,000 books were read in total by all the children taking part.   This year the challenge was delivered in collaboration with The Roald Dahl Literary Estate to celebrate 100 years of the world’s favourite storyteller. The prizes included postcards and certificates, and featured some of Roald Dahl’s best-loved characters and the amazing artwork of his principal illustrator, Sir Quentin Blake.   Cabinet member for libraries Jonathon Seed paid tribute to more than 200 volunteers who gave their time to listen to children talk about their books, encouraging them in their reading and giving out the rewards.   He said: “These are wonderful results and it brings together all that is best in our community libraries with scores of volunteers making it all work. The Summer Reading Challenge is a really important programme and these results shows it is both popular and can really make a difference to children’s reading. Thanks to all the volunteers who generously gave their time to support this initiative which is proving more popular each year.”   Sarah Hillier, development librarian for children and young people said: “It’s been a fabulous year for the challenge especially because it was linked to Dahl’s centenary. There has been a real buzz in libraries. Children have loved collecting their special Dahl prizes and of course reading and enjoying lots of books.   “Parents, carers and children love the challenge, many say it makes a real difference to their reading ability and enjoyment.”   Comments received included:   ‘I think the reading challenge is an excellent way for children who don’t do much reading to get rewards for every book that they read.’  (Parent of Rebecca aged 10, Trowbridge)   ‘I have loved going to the library LOTS. I really love the library because it is so amazing and big and has lots and lots and lots and lots of books! When I read my books I get VERY excited to tell the lady about them and get my stickers. Thank you library.’ (child from Amesbury)


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