Local Community News


The results from the annual Summer Reading Challenge are in! Over the summer holidays, the Isle of Wight Council’s library service set a challenge to island children: to read 6 books during the 6 week summer break.

The Summer Reading Challenge runs every year over the summer holidays, and is responsible for keeping thousands of children reading over the long break. This year’s challenge was inspired by the centenary Roald Dahl’s birth, although children could read any book they liked.

This year’s challenge saw an amazing 2,345 island children sign up for the The Big Friendly, the Summer Reading Challenge 2016, and ran throughout the summer in all eleven of the island’s libraries, including volunteer-run libraries and the Mobile Library.

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An amazing 1,613 children – a record-breaking 69% compared to 65.8% last year – successfully reached the end of the challenge, by reading 6 books over the summer holidays. Many children read considerably more than 6 books. The Isle of Wight also beat last year’s national rate of challenge completion, which was 57%. In total, an eye watering 28,181 children’s books were borrowed from Isle of Wight libraries during the duration of the challenge.

Isle of Wight Council development librarian for young people and lifelong learning, Elspeth Jackson, said:

“We are delighted that so many children were inspired by the Big Friendly Read. The annual Summer Reading Challenge encourages children to discover the delights of reading, and to keep up their reading skills outside school.

“Although this year’s challenge is over, children can continue to explore the pleasures of reading. Island libraries stock a wide range of books for all ages, and they’re all free to borrow.”

The vast majority of children surveyed felt that they were better readers at the end of the summer than they were at the start, and many parents commented that they had never seen their children so keen to read.

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One parent commented:

“My son has always seen reading as a chore but thanks to this challenge, he’s finally started to enjoy books, and his reading has come on in leaps and bounds.”

All children who earned a medal were invited to write a review or draw a picture of their favourite book of the summer. The best entry from each library has been selected, and the winning children were recently invited to a prize-giving hosted at Lord Louis Library by Isle of Wight Council chairman, Councillor Charles Chapman.

The winners from each library across the Island are:

  • Bembridge – Gracie Riley
  • Brighstone – Sophie May Tyler
  • Cowes – Nicholas Newson & Lucy Aitken
  • East Cowes – Bethany Boxall
  • Freshwater – Ruby Barnby
  • Newport – Jack Frampton
  • Niton – Amelia Mumford
  • Ryde – Erin Hicks
  • Sandown – Martha Coyle
  • Ventnor – Rosie Tayler
  • Mobile library – Daisy Parkinson

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