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Children's programmes from The Reading Agency

The Summer Reading Challenge

The Summer Reading Challenge, delivered in partnership with public libraries, encourages children aged 4 to 11 to enjoy the benefits of reading for pleasure over the summer holidays, providing lots of fun as well as helping to prevent the summer reading ‘dip’. Each year the Challenge motivates over 700,000 children to keep reading to build their skills and confidence.

Each year, the Challenge has a new theme. This year, we’ve teamed up with the Science Museum Group to create ‘Gadgeteers’, a Challenge that will celebrate science and innovation and will highlight the key role of the imagination in both reading and the sciences. Children will be invited to use their curiosity to understand the science behind everyday objects, exploring a whole range of interests from fashion and technology to cooking and music.

‘Gadgeteers’ will be brought to life with bespoke artwork from top children’s writer and illustrator, Julian Beresford.

Children can participate in the Summer Reading Challenge via their local library, or online. The Challenge runs in 95% of UK public libraries – children simply need to visit their local library and sign up. Alternatively, children can sign up via our official Challenge website – The website is free to access and features additional content for all participants including games, book recommendations, and downloadable activities that incentivise and encourage children to take part in reading-related activities.

The Challenge runs throughout the summer holidays across the UK. This year, ‘Gadgeteers’ begins in Scotland and Northern Ireland on Saturday 25th June, and in England and Wales on Saturday 9th July.

At the heart of the Summer Reading Challenge is a child’s ability to shape their reading journey. Help us to spread the word that reading for pleasure is free and fun!

The Summer Reading Challenge School Zone

In the Summer Reading Challenge School Zone you can find information to support your pupils taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge. You’ll also find resources on The Reading Agency website, and activities on our children’s website, to inspire all your students to read for pleasure.


Chatterbooks started in 2001 and is now the UK’s largest network of children’s reading groups. We estimate that almost 9,000 children belong to Chatterbooks groups, which are run in libraries and schools to generate discussion and encourage children to enjoy reading. To browse hundreds of resources for children, head to the Chatterbooks resources page. You can also apply to take part in lots of exciting offers and opportunities from our publishing partners, including reading and reviewing sets of books and competitions here.

Reading Sparks

Reading Sparks is a new project to engage children and families with science through reading from The Reading Agency. The project is funded by Arts Council England and Science and Technology Facilities Council and delivered in partnership with public libraries, the British Science Association, and NUSTEM at the University of Northumbria.

Reading Sparks will harness the proven power of reading to engage families with STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and bridge the gap in science capital for families from lower socio-economic groups, teenage girls and BAME communities. We are working with 11 library services across England who support some of the most disadvantaged communities in the country to pilot reading and science activities. The pilot project will run from 2021-23. For further information visit our website or get in touch

The Winter Mini Challenge for children

The Winter Mini Challenge encourages children to keep reading through the winter holidays.

The Winter Mini Challenge is run through the Summer Reading Challenge children’s website. To take part, children simply read three books of their choice over the winter period, then add each book to their Challenge website profile and leave a short book review.

After rating and reviewing three books online they unlock a virtual badge and certificate to print off and keep!

Reading Well for Children and Young People

Reading Well for children provides quality-assured information, stories and advice to support children’s mental health and wellbeing. Books have been chosen and recommended by leading health professionals and co-produced with children and families. The booklist is targeted at children in Key Stage 2 (aged 7-11), but includes titles aimed at a wide range of reading levels to support less confident readers, and to encourage children to read together with their siblings and carers.

Discover the official Reading Well for Children booklist here.

Reading Well for young people recommends expert endorsed books about mental health, providing 13 to 18 year olds with advice and information about issues like anxiety, stress and OCD, and difficult experiences like bullying and exams. The books have all been recommended by young people and health professionals, and are available to borrow for free from public libraries.

Discover the official Young People’s Reading Well booklist here.