Thousands of Fareham youngsters take part in national challenge at library

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  • Youngsters pack out Fareham Library after completing nine-week challenge
  • Eager readers got swept up in Roald Dahl’s books this year
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It is so important for kids to read books these days. It opens up a whole world in their heads and I am delighted that so many of my pupils got involved and completed the challenge

More than 1,200 young readers took part in the national challenge at Fareham Library in Osborn Road, which saw eager youngsters read six books or more in the space of nine weeks over the course of the school summer holidays.

From the left are eager readers Joshua Bull, seven, volunteer Sarah Allen as Willy Wonka, Ellie Bull, four (middle), Erin Coffey, nine, Quinn Coffey, six, Olivia Barker, eight and Audrey Peralta, seven 	Picture: Loughlan Campbell

From the left are eager readers Joshua Bull, seven, volunteer Sarah Allen as Willy Wonka, Ellie Bull, four (middle), Erin Coffey, nine, Quinn Coffey, six, Olivia Barker, eight and Audrey Peralta, seven Picture: Loughlan Campbell

A total of 662 readers completed the challenge and a celebratory party was held in the library on Saturday to mark the achievement.

Elizabeth Weighell, library area manager at Hampshire County Council, congratulated the readers on finishing the challenge.

She said: ‘The challenge has been a massive success this year and it’s great to see the library packed out with so many readers, who seem so eager to read more.’

This year’s theme was centred around Roald Dahl to mark the much-loved writer’s centenary and volunteer Sarah Allen dressed up as Willy Wonka.

Ms Weighell added: ‘This year’s theme has really caught the attention of all the youngsters and their parents have also got involved as they remember reading the books themselves and seem keen to pass down the experience to their children.

‘It’s just fabulous to see the library this busy in this day and age. With all the technology out there for kids to use, the fact that so many are picking up a book is so lovely.’

Many Fareham schools have got involved in the challenge over the course of the summer and Sam Davies, who teaches Year 3 at Harrison Primary School in Harrison Road, says her pupils have loved taking part.

She said: ‘It is so important for kids to read books these days.

‘It opens up a whole world in their heads and I am delighted that so many of my pupils got involved and completed the challenge.’

The recent adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The BFG also proved to be a big hit with pupils on the page as well as on the screen.

Ms Davies added: ‘It’s a lot of the kids’ favourite book. The film coming out in the summer really caught their imagination, it seems.’

More than 25,000 readers across Hampshire took part in the event, beating last year’s 24,500 participants.