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.

Latest news

One moment can change a life forever. This lovely blog from Sophie Wills on how in 'one super-powered flash', she got her confidence back and started writing again. Read Sophie's blog and see if you are inspired to enter any of our competitions.

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

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

Jubilee poetry competition

We have launched a poetry competition to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. If you are a budding poet and want to see your poem in print, put your creative skills to the test and show us what you’ve got! The competition closes at 5pm on Friday 1 July.

Storytelling competition

The search for spectacular storytellers across Essex has begun! Write a short story with the theme of Essex in the past, present and future and enter by 1 July.

Dragon's Den competition

Write a short proposal on your idea to promote a love of reading to everyone, including older people and people living with Dementia. The closing date is 27 May.

Essex Book Festival

The festival returns in June and there are a wide range of events to take part in.

Throughout the month of June, Essex Library Service is hosting 15 author events as well as bringing back the always popular Essex Authors Day and featuring a brand new children's festival.

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.

Story of the month - Owl Babies

Every month we will be sharing a fabulous story video for families to share along with some activity ideas. This month’s story is Owl Babies by Martin Waddell and illustrated by Patrick Benson.

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.

Coming soon

We'll have new projects, activities and competitions throughout 2022 so look out for:

  • Reading in Unusual Places - a celebration of reading everywhere!
  • a library card for every child

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 28 April 2022