Ready, Set, Read is the rallying cry for children across the Bradford district this summer as they are invited to take part in the annual Summer Reading Challenge. The theme for this year’s challenge is sport and games, aiming to combine physical activity with the joy of reading.

Over 100 exciting and free events and activities will be hosted in libraries throughout the district during the school holidays, offering children a chance to embark on a literary adventure while staying active. The initiative, presented by The Reading Agency in partnership with libraries, aims to promote reading for pleasure among children aged 4 to 11 years.

Children who sign up for the Summer Reading Challenge will not only embark on a literary journey but will also receive incentives along the way to keep their reading momentum going. Last year, public libraries issued a staggering 12 million children’s books, including eBooks and audiobooks, during the Challenge. The program has been proven to significantly enhance children’s reading confidence, ensuring they are well-prepared for their return to school in the autumn. Moreover, it offers families a fantastic opportunity to access books and participate in enjoyable family activities throughout the summer, all at no cost. The Challenge manages to reach approximately 700,000 children every year, with an impressive 75% of participants from last year demonstrating improvement in their reading skills over the holidays.

Upon registration at any library within the Bradford district, each child will receive a Ready Set Read folder equipped with collectable stickers, a bookmark, and a frisbee. If a child successfully completes the challenge of reading six books, they will be rewarded with a Ready Set Read Certificate and Medal, subject to availability.

This year’s Ready, Set, Read challenge has been developed in collaboration with the Youth Sport Trust, aiming to celebrate play, participation, and the joy of reading. It encourages children to engage in reading, games, and sports in a manner that suits them best. The Challenge will provide opportunities to showcase how reading can be an active and engaging pursuit that fosters teamwork and community spirit.

Bradford Libraries have organised a wide range of events and activities that cater not only to children but also to parents. Renowned children’s author Tom Palmer will conduct a Football Reading Game session at City and Manningham Libraries. Interactive storytelling events will be led by Same Difference Arts, Mud Pie Arts, and the talented storyteller/actor Robin Simpson, who recently captivated audiences in Coronation Street.

To further amplify the theme of sport and games, Bradford District Museums and Galleries, the National Science & Media Museum, and Bradford University will offer exciting workshops in libraries throughout the district.

This summer, Zoolab, an organisation specialising in small animal encounters, will embark on a quest to discover the ultimate animal athlete. Additionally, the Bradford Park Avenue team will offer player encounters and writing workshops, adding an extra element of excitement to the Summer Reading Challenge.

Explore Learning, a company providing math and English tuition, and St Edmunds 50 Things, an initiative aimed at helping children achieve important milestones in health, learning, and well-being through play, will also organise sessions and workshops in libraries, aligning with the Summer Reading Challenge theme.

The council’s library teams have crafted their own in-house sessions, including sports day games, sport-themed crafts, scavenger hunts, sports quizzes, and even a Harry Potter Quidditch event at Bingley Library. These activities aim to further engage children and create a vibrant atmosphere of fun and learning.

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Healthy People and Places, said: “The Summer Reading Challenge events and activities always prove popular with both children and parents and are a great way for children to continue with their reading throughout the school summer holidays. With the theme of sport and games this year, they are also an ideal opportunity for children to have fun, play and keep active.”

A full list of events and activities can be found online at click on Summer Reading Challenge 2023 on the left hand side of the webpage.