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40,000 children to join Summer Reading Challenge in Essex

18 July 2017

More than 40,000 children will turn super sleuth to solve a series of mysterious crimes at Essex Libraries as part of this year’s Summer Reading Challenge.

The UK’s biggest annual reading initiative, which helps improve child literacy during the summer holidays when reading levels drop, will reach more than a quarter of all children in the county with almost half a million books borrowed.

This year there’s something fishy going on in your local library and the Animal Agents need help to crack the case. Children, aged three and over, must collect their free ‘top secret’ information pack, which challenges them to read six books of their choice in order to collect clues to solve three crime scenarios.

The clues will come in the form of stickers, including some special smelly stickers, which the children need to complete their information pack and earn their Animal Agents certificate and medal.

The under 3s are not forgotten with a special version of Animal Agents created just for them, while children 10 and over can join ImagiNation 2017, to help their library make fantastic book displays by creating artwork or reviews inspired by the books they have read.

The free challenge, which runs from 15 July to 2 September, is produced by The Reading Agency and is being delivered by libraries for the 19th year.

There are also lots of fun activities on the Animal Agents website where children can keep track of the books they read, as well as write reviews, enter competitions and chat to other readers.

Cllr Susan Barker, Cabinet member for Essex Libraries, said: “We’re committed to giving children the best start in life and the Summer Reading Challenge does exactly that by improving literacy when reading levels traditionally drop during the holidays.

“Almost 600 volunteers and library staff will take time to listen to what children have to say about the books they are reading, help them to crack the Animal Agents case, and help develop their reading confidence.

“Babies and toddlers can also join in because it is proven that sharing books from birth gives children a flying start to their early development and even helps bonding.

All children and their families are welcome to join in with Animal Agents and there are book talking tools for children of all ages and abilities, including some especially for children with Autism and learning disabilities.

I urge everyone to make the most of this fantastic reading challenge and hope it gives newcomers an idea of what our excellent library service has to offer all year round.”

Visit Summer Reading Challenge for more information.