Over 30 children attended Culloden Library’s local launch of this year’s free-of-charge Summer Reading Challenge ‘Ready, Set, Read!’, kickstarting their reading journey while partaking in inclusive sporting activities.
The sports theme of ‘Ready, Set, Read!’ was set by the Reading Agency in partnership with Youth Sport Trust who run the campaign annually.
For 2023, the idea behind ‘Ready, Set, Read!’ was to shine a light on the power of public libraries like Culloden Library as a hub for local communities, and bring together the benefits of sport, play and creativity.
Alongside High Life Highland’s Disability Sport Team staff who hosted the activities element of the event, children of all ages, parents, grandparents, and guardians joined in to cheer each other all morning and keep morale high throughout the event.
Michelle Gowans, High Life Highland’s Network Librarian, said:
“High Life Highland’s Disability Sport team moved into our facility around a year ago, and we had been looking to do some work together as colleagues.
“When the theme for this year Summer Reading Challenge was announced as ‘Ready, Set, Read!’ it seemed to be the perfect partnership!
“We saw a large increase in registrations for this year’s ‘Ready, Set, Read!’ Summer Reading Challenge compared to previous years, which is fantastic news after experiencing lockdown and recovery.
“Many of the families who came along mentioned that this was their first ever visit to Culloden Library!
“It’s so great to hear that the launch encourages Highland residents to explore what facilities High Life Highland has on offer.
“The idea behind the challenge is to encourage children to keep reading over the summer holiday period, so that building reading skills can continue beyond the classroom.
“Ultimately, ‘Ready, Set, Read!’ is here to foster curiosity and enable lifelong learning, so it is a terrific opportunity for parents and carers to engage with High Life Highland staff, and see what support is available for helping them to build strong literacy skills in their young ones.
“We started the Launch and Closing events years ago at Culloden Library to get more kids aware of, and registered for, the Summer Reading Challenge – but importantly, coming back to complete it.
“Finishers of the Summer Reading Challenge always get a medal and certificate, and we want to help as many young people get recognised, rewarded, and celebrated for their reading achievements each summer.”
Charlie Forbes, High Life Highland’s Disability Sport Development Officer, added:
“Our Disability Team were delighted to support the sports-themed ‘Ready, Set, Read!’ Summer Reading Challenge at Culloden Library this year.
“Coach Paul Davidson, who works in various schools across the Highland’s to give a flavour of indoor and outdoor sports for disabled pupils, was a star in delivering a range of fun games and activities which the children were fully engaged in throughout the event.”
Steve Walsh, High Life Highlands Chief Executive, concluded:
“I am so pleased to see that highlife members are taking advantage of everything the High Life Highland School’s Out programme has to offer.
“The fact some of those in attendance were visiting Culloden Library for the very first time means not only are events like the ‘Ready, Set, Read!’ Summer Reading Challenge a chance to discover new places and activities, but also an opportunity to get involved.”
The local launch event of ‘Ready, Set, Read!’ took place at Culloden Library on Monday 3rd July from 11am to 1pm.
The Summer Reading Challenge will be taking place from July through to August, with a closing event taking place at Culloden Library on Monday 7th August from 11am to 1pm.
The Culloden Library closing event is open for registration at the following High Life Highland School’s Out link (using booking code SOS000037): https://booking.highlifehighland.com/programme/11/
The Summer Reading Challenge has been running across the UK since 1999 and helps to prevent the summer reading ‘dip’ that many young people experience during their summer holidays while schools are closed.
According to the Reading Agency, the Summer Reading Challenge reached 723,184 children and families across the UK in 2022, with 608,015 children taking part through their local library service – making it a 31% increase compared to 2021.
For more information about the Summer Reading Challenge, ‘Ready, Set, Read!’ please visit the official website hosted by the Reading Agency: https://summerreadingchallenge.org.uk/