Essex Year of Reading

Essex Year of Reading

Welcome to the Essex Year of Reading.

The Essex Year of Reading is a countywide campaign created to help children and young people discover a lifelong love of reading and ensure every Essex child can read at their age level or better.

Whether you’re a parent or carer who wants to support their child on their reading adventure, a young person looking for inspiration, or an adult keen to rediscover the joy of reading, we’re here to help.

Start your year of reading

Enjoying the fun of reading is the first step to becoming a confident reader, see how we can help you.

Discover the app

The Essex Year of Reading app will inspire you or your child to read with confidence. Use the free digital library to enjoy immersive audio readings, animations, quizzes and download texts to read offline anytime, anywhere.

You’ll find information about Essex libraries, online and in-person events as well as exciting competitions and challenges, updated throughout the year.

You’ll be able to choose from the:

  • pupil library – including poetry and fiction and non-fiction stories
  • literacy boosting library – including high-interest and phonics-based reading support
  • parent or carer library – including guides on how to support your child’s reading and wider learning

Brand new app features!

Exciting new content is now available on the Essex Year of Reading app. Brand new updates include:

  • the ‘Let’s begin’ guide for parents and carers
  • 10 top tips to support children to read
  • recommended short reads for adults written by best-selling authors
  • a library of children’s books in braille
  • books for primary and secondary school children who find reading difficult
  • details on how reading for pleasure has a positive impact on health
  • new titles for children: ‘Adventures in Science’ and ‘Learn English

Has your story won our competition?

Winners for our storytelling and poetry competitions have been announced on the Essex Year of Reading app. All shortlisted texts are available for you to read and enjoy!

Download the app here

Download from Google Play
Download from the App Store

What’s on?

Over the course of the Essex Year of Reading we’ll be running a series of events, activities and competitions to encourage the people of Essex to become authors, poets, illustrators and photographers.

Activities, competitions and events

New competition launching soon

As a celebration of all things reading, we’re publishing a selection of competition entries in an Essex Year of Reading book. There’s no age limit – if your family enjoy writing poems, stories or non-fiction, the competition is open to all.

Open to entries from Monday 17 October, keep an eye out for more details on this page.

Brand new anthologies are here!

We're celebrating Essex's talent, by publishing two brand new anthologies on the Essex Year of Reading app. More details on Awesome Authors and Promising Poets are below.

Awesome Authors is a collection of short stories written and illustrated by people in Essex. All of the stories are based on the theme of Essex in the past, present and future, so get ready to go on an adventure, walk down memory lane or even time travel into the future!

Promising Poets is an anthology of poems written and illustrated by people in Essex. Written over the summer to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee, the poems are now an excellent way to commemorate the late Queen Elizabeth's life.

Celebrating Black History Month in Essex Libraries

This year's theme for Black History Month is ‘Time for Change: Action Not Words’. Whether you want to learn about Black History, be inspired by other people’s stories, or find your new favourite author, Essex Libraries has compiled a 2022 booklist.

Black History Month Storytime

Children’s author Sade Fadipe will be joining us for a wonderful reading of her book ‘A Fun ABC’ and some fun craft activities. Sade will be running these special events at Basildon, Harlow, and Chelmsford libraries.

These events are free, but booking is required. Search 'Black History Month' on the libraries event page to book a space at a library near you.

Story of the Month - A Fun ABC

Every month we will be sharing a fabulous story video for families to share along with some activity ideas. October's story is A Fun ABC by written by Sade Fadipe and illustrated by Shedrach Ayalomeh.

Rollout of library literacy areas

The first phase in the rollout of Literacy Areas in Essex Libraries has begun! The vibrant and modern areas will be dedicated to nurturing a love of reading and writing among adults and children. Each area will hold printable take-home resources which cover beginner and enhanced literacy topics for all ages, as well as creative writing prompts.

Author visits to libraries

Essex Libraries are running numerous author events as part of the Essex Year of Reading. These take place across the county and are open to children and their families.

New Quick Reads for adults

Essex Library Service are now stocking eight new exciting Quick Reads titles. Quick Reads are short, simpler reads for adults written by best-selling authors. The authors this year include popular authors Graham Norton, Santa Montefiore and Kate Mosse. Quick Reads are ideal if you have limited time, are returning to reading or simply prefer shorter stories.

Talk, Listen, Cuddle

The first few years of a child's life are key to the development of speech, language and cognitive skills. Talk, Listen, Cuddle is a great resource to help your child gain the best start in life through playful learning at home before they start school.

Adult learning

If you want to improve your literacy skills, ACL Essex offers a positive environment with the dedicated support of tutors to give you the learning experience you deserve.

Parent Ambassador Programme

A pilot scheme for parents, grandparents or carers who have children that attend schools in the Basildon, Harlow, Tendring or Colchester area. Currently recruting parent ambassador.

Working with schools

There are a number of projects underway involving primary, secondary and SEND schools throughout Essex. You can see an overview of all projects, with contact details in the project directory.

About us

The Essex Year of Reading is a countywide campaign created to help children and young people discover a love of reading and ensure every Essex child can read at their age level or better.

The campaign is part of a programme to address the short and long-term impact of Covid-19 on children and young people’s education and the missed opportunities caused by the pandemic.

Essex County Council is funding the Essex Education Task Force to work with education providers and stakeholders to deliver the programme. Over £1million will be invested in a programme of reading during 2022.

Last updated 29 June 2022