Youngsters urged to join the Big Friendly Read

Oxfordshire County Council’s libraries are encouraging thousands of children to read six books this summer as part of a Roald Dahl-inspired challenge.

Youngsters aged between four and 11 are being urged to join The Big Friendly Read: Summer Reading Challenge which is being delivered in partnership with the author’s literary estate and the Reading Agency to mark 100 years since the birth of the world’s favourite storyteller.

Sign up

All children need to do is sign up at their nearest library and receive a collector’s folder. As children progress through the challenge, reading two books at a time and revisiting the library, they can collect special collector cards.

The cards all feature original Quentin Blake illustrations and explore some of most popular themes in Roald Dahl’s books such as invention, mischief and friendship. When children have collected six cards and read at least 6 books they can claim their medal and certificate of achievement.

Great opportunity

The council’s Cabinet Member for Cultural Services Lorraine Lindsay-Gale said: “Last summer’s reading challenge saw more than 8,000 children taking part countywide and we are hoping this year that even more children and families will get involved. The summer break is a great opportunity for children to discover the joy of reading and find out what their local library has to offer."

Last year more than 150 young volunteers aged 13-24 helped to deliver the challenge and many have already signed up to help this year. More information and application forms can be found at www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/libraries

Reading challenge events

A summer programme of events is planned at Oxfordshire libraries including the Science Oxford Big Friendly Library Tour, bringing exciting workshops to sixteen locations. In addition, 10 libraries will be hosting Marvellous Museums events with the Oxford University Museums Service and there will be a range of crafts, author events and more.

Families can also unlock some digital magic on the Big Friendly Read: Summer Reading Challenge website at www.bigfriendlyread.org.uk including the free Summer Reading Challenge App, which this year will include rare recordings of Roald Dahl sharing his writing tips and reading aloud.

Created by Reading Agency sponsor SOLUS, the app will also provide a convenient way to access the Book Sorter, a unique crowd-sourced database of books in user friendly categories that children themselves have rated and added.