All systems are go for a science-themed summer of fun aimed at encouraging children to get the most of books.
OnFife Libraries are launching their Summer Reading Challenge aimed at inspiring 4 to 11 year olds to use their inventiveness and imagination.
The annual challenge, which begins on Saturday (25 June), is coordinated by the Reading Agency – a national charity that aims to inspire more people to get into books.
This year’s Gadgeteers theme is a celebration of all things STEM – science, technology, engineering and maths – with a focus on creative thinking and teamwork.
The programme encourages young people to discover science and innovation in the world around them – in areas as diverse as food, fashion, music and sport.
The UK-wide initiative encourages children to enjoy the benefits of reading for pleasure over the summer months and helps to prevent a dip in reading over school holidays.
Libraries run by OnFife have consistently achieved some of Scotland’s top participation figures for the Challenge.
Taking part for the first time this year will be children from Fife Council’s holiday clubs. Clubs in Camdean, Kelty, Fair Isle in Kirkcaldy and Leuchars will work closely with the libraries team over the summer on a literacy and attainment programme.
Libraries staff hope as many as 2,500 children will take up the Reading Challenge. They can do so by popping in to one of OnFife’s 32 libraries, or by catching the mobile libraries as they dot about the region.
Children can pick up a collector’s folder from libraries staff, set their own reading goals and then work their way through six books, e-books or audio books that catch their eye.
Participants collect special stickers and other rewards along the way – all for free. Everyone who completes their personal challenge will receive a certificate and goodie bag.
Rewards include books, bookmarks, pencils, games and toys. Three local visitor attractions – Cluny Activities, Fife Zoo and the Scottish Deer Centre – have donated free days out for the finishers’ prize draw.
Libraries staff will be running a series of free events with a team from the teacher training organisation SSERC and their STEM Ambassador programme. These events will include workshops on coding, construction and chemistry.
Some libraries will host STEM-themed craft sessions, which have a £3.50 admission fee.
Children can also join in the fun online through the Summer Reading Challenge website.
Once online, they can access lots of fun facts and activities, book recommendations and join six fictional Gadgeteers – characters created by children’s writer and illustrator Julian Beresford.
OnFife Libraries’ Service Development Officer for Young People, Sabrina Maguire, says: “Having missed the past two years, we can’t wait to welcome children back to our libraries for the Challenge.
“Reading for pleasure is one of the most enriching things a child can do. We have lots of fun events and great rewards lined up. It promises to be a winning celebration of all things science.”
Fife Council’s Childcare Services Team Manager Gary Peattie, says: “We are looking forward to working with OnFife Libraries to bring the Summer Reading Challenge, and its many benefits, to the children in our holiday clubs.
“Literacy and developing a love of reading are as important as ever and we are very happy to be involved with such a valuable project.”
Alastair MacGregor, Chief Executive at SSERC says: “We’re delighted to be working with OnFife to support their Summer Reading Challenge.
“The STEM Ambassador Programme provides children with the opportunity to meet people from a wide range of different backgrounds and careers.”