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

What's on the Essex Year of Reading app?

To encourage families to keep up with their reading journeys, exciting new content is often added to the app. Recently, we've added new content including:

  • 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

Celebrate Essex's writing talent

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. Plus, they're now available as audio recordings, for you to sit back and listen.

Download the app here

Download from the App Store

Download from Google Play

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

Calling all budding writers!

Enter our new competition and show off your writing talent! The competition is open to people of all ages and entries can cover different areas, from fiction, to non-fiction, poetry, lyrics, recipes - or something else.

The competition opens on 17 October and closes at 5pm on 31 January 2023. Check the link above for details on how to enter plus terms and conditions. We will be publishing a selection of entries in a new Essex Year of Reading book next year.

Tell me a story

Essex Year of Reading are launching a brand-new series of story time sessions for children aged under 8. Discover a love of reading with your family, by listening to stories read by famous faces and authors plus local heroes, including an Essex firefighter. Listening to stories helps young children develop their speech, language and reading skills.

The ‘Tell me a story’ sessions will be available on Essex County Council’s YouTube channel every two weeks, starting Thursday 17 November.

Our most recent session features Heather from Colchester Zoo, reading 'Poo in the Zoo' by Steve Smallman and Ada Grey. Watch below plus catch up with rest of the series on YouTube.

Winter Reading Challenge 2022

Running from Saturday 26 November to Saturday 28 January, the Winter Reading Challenge is back! This year’s challenge is all about the journey of Lyra the penguin. Challengers will help Lyra as she travels around the zoo, asking her animal friends all about how they celebrate the winter season differently around the world.

Children of all ages will need to complete at least 6 of the 12 challenges in our interactive booklet. There are prizes to all who finish, and an extra special prize to those who finish early. You can sign up to the challenge by visiting any of our Essex libraries.

Share your book reviews

Share your thoughts one of the books you read during the Winter Reading Challenge. As one of the challenges, we're encouraging children to share a short book review (up to 500 words), which will be published on the Essex Year of Reading app. Reviews are welcome in any format: handwritten, illustrated or video. Get creative! Terms and conditions apply.

Audio recordings now available on EYOR app

Over the summer, people of all ages entered our competition and shared their storytelling and poetry skills. Then, to showcase Essex's talent, shortlisted entries were compiled into two anthologies on the Essex Year of Reading app.

Now, you can sit back and listen while the voices of Essex read their work aloud. Download the app to hear the competition winners read their exciting stories and poems.

Story of the Month - Dog Gone

Every month we will be sharing a fabulous story video for families to share along with some activity ideas. January's story is Dog Gone by Rob Biddulph.

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