Thousands of children join Portsmouth's summer reading challenge this year

THOUSANDS of children have been getting involved in a summer reading challenge with sign ups 82 percent higher than last year.

More than 2,400 youngsters have so far taken part in the challenge which is supported by Portsmouth City Council and aims to encourage children to read.

Children are tasked with reading six books as part of the challenge, which runs from July 9 to September 18.

The aim is to encourage pupils to acknowledge all forms of literature and this year, the theme is ‘gadgeteers’ and focuses on sciences and technology.

Girl in library. Picture credit: Portsmouth City Council

Councillor Steve Pitt, the council's cabinet member for culture, leisure, and economic development, said: ‘The summer reading challenge is a wonderful initiative and a fun, free activity for children to enjoy throughout the summer. We look forward to seeing what books they enjoy over the coming weeks.’

All children that have participated in the challenge will be invited to an awards ceremony at Southsea Castle on September 18, where children will be awarded with a wooden medal.

Children can borrow books, audiobooks, novels, poetry and graphic novels from any of the local libraries.

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Families can participate in HAF Fun Pompey's creative writing and craft workshops, storytelling, and Stomp for Stamps.

HAF Fun Pompey have partnered up with the Central Library to provide fun days for families, as well as a hot meal.

These activity days will take place from 10am to 2pm on August 9, 16, 18 and 23, and can be booked in advance by emailing [email protected]

Stomp for Stamps revolves around the Pompey Monsters, which encourages children to explore areas of the city, guided by a book which can be collected for any library.

Children can walk, cycle or scoot to complete at least three of the routes, at which point they will be required to collect a rubbing to take back to the library in exchange of a sticker.

Once they have collected three stickers, children can take the book to the library to get a Pompey Monster bag.

Cllr Pitt said: ‘I am so proud of all the activities provided for the city's children this summer. We are dedicated to encouraging our young people to develop their love of learning, talents and abilities, to empower them and enrich their lives.’