Summer Reading Challenge 2012 – Devon Libraries’ story

Story Lab banner

The Summer Reading Challenge is the biggest UK reading initiative. It runs in libraries throughout the school holidays creating a real buzz around children’s reading. The challenge is simple – to read six or more library books over the summer. The theme this year was ‘Story Lab’ – a celebration of story and imagination. Story Lab was an official partner in the Cultural Olympiad which allowed libraries to tap into all the excitement.

Olympic torches from Summer Reading Challenge activity

All 50 libraries and Starters and finishers Summer Reading challenge graph8 mobile libraries in Devon offered the Summer Reading Challenge. Over 8000 children took part, 30% more than last year and almost half the participants completed the Challenge.

Libraries staged 159 events and activities including designing Olympic medals, fairytale story labs, sports taster sessions, book character fancy dress, inventing board games, Wii Olympics, treasure hunts, science activities, Olympic torch making, visits by storytellers, entertainers, authors and zoo animals (!) plus many more.

Babette Cole CN, Crafts NA, Blue hands NA, Edible medals DW

Everyone who completed the Challenge was awarded a certificate and gold medal.

Cllrs Croad and Way presenting medals to SRC finishers CreditonLots of award ceremonies took place, attended enthusiastically by parents, families and friends, with medal presentations performed by Councillors, Mayors and other VIPs.

Many libraries worked closely with local schools to promote the Challenge. Research commissioned by The Reading Agency has shown that the Summer Reading Challenge can help primary schools avoid the “summer holiday dip” in pupils’ reading motivation and attainment, widen pupils’ reading range and repertoire and boost their desire to read at home.

We worked with many partners to add interest, excitement and expertise including Adult & Community Learning, Exmoor Zoo, Active Devon, Pecorama and Landmark Theatre.

This year, for the medal ceremony with young volunteerfirst time, young volunteers helped run some of the events and encourage the readers to join in the fun.

Here is some of the feedback we received about the Summer Reading Challenge:

Youtube interview with Matthew

Youtube interview with Tommy

Youtube interview with Rees

My son loves books but is out oStory Lab graphicf the habit of reading.  This challenge got him back into reading.  He was so excited each time he finished a book and could not wait visiting the library to choose among so many books.  I wished such challenges were run all year around to help children to motivate them back into reading.
(Parent of 10 year old child)

Children have enjoyed reading the books individually and as a family.  Working towards gold on the Story Lab form has been rewarding at the library.
(Parent of children aged 4 and 7)

The children get very excited about these summer reading challenges.  They very much enjoy choosing books, reading them on their own or with us parents, to collect token for the rewards.  They even compete against each other to see who could finished first!  Keep going!
(Parent of children aged 5 and 7)

Fantastic scheme.  Both boys were keen to visit the library as much as possible!  They loved the stickers and the card lab.  The 6 year old also loved the website.
(Parent of children aged 6 and 2)

Story Lab encouraged us to use the library more.  My 7 year old loves reading.  My 6 year old is a reluctant reader so it was great to see him enjoyed books for a change.  We will be using the library regularly now.
(Parent of children 7 and 6)

Devon Summer Reading Challenge - comment Nicole age 13

It has been great fun and our issues of children’s books over July and August topped 200,000 – 6% higher than 2011.

Lots more photos

Devon Summer Reading Challenge - comment Emily age 9

If you would like to comment on the Summer Reading Challenge we would be delighted to hear from you via the Comment box below or find us on

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