Dragons help children complete challenge

Picture: Allan Hutchings (142426-119)
Picture: Allan Hutchings (142426-119)

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HUNDREDS of children got their heads stuck in a book as part of this year’s summer reading challenge.

The challenge – called Enter the Mythical Maze – focused on dragons, mermaids, unicorns and other mystical creatures from around the world.

The Portsmouth Libraries challenge encouraged youngsters aged from four and 11 to read six books during the summer break.

Dan James is the manager at Southsea Library in Palmerston Road, where nearly 600 children took part in arts and crafts activities related to the reading challenge.

He said: ‘It’s a great thing to offer. Across the city there were thousands of children taking part. The uptake was incredible.

‘It’s been really busy with lots of kids reading.

‘It’s good to get them reading – it helps with their education. It gets them to use the library which is helpful.

‘They seem to enjoy choosing their own books and talking to staff.’

Dan added that it is good for children to be kept busy during the six-week break from school.

‘One of the reasons for doing it is to get them doing something other than playing on the computer,’ he said.

‘It gives them something to do to keep their education up.

‘If they stop reading for six weeks it might be difficult to pick a book up again.

‘It seems to be beneficial. Lots of children are reading more than six books. We have had thousands of children taking part and they all come back to read more.’

Hannah Langford, 30, from Hunter Road in Southsea, took her son Alfie-Jude Burges, five, to the library.

She said: ‘He started the reading challenge and he enjoys doing it. He loves going down to the library. He was really excited.

‘It’s good for them because it encourages them to read more books.

‘When you go to the library, they ask the child what they like about the book. Alfie was able to describe what he likes about it.’

Children can read whatever they like – fact books, joke books, picture books, audio books – as long as they are borrowed from the library.