The Reading Agency receives £120,000 to evaluate Summer Reading Challenge

The Reading Agency receives £120,000 to evaluate Summer Reading Challenge

The Reading Agency is planning an evaluation of the Summer Reading Challenge after receiving an award of £120,000 from Arts Council England.

The charity will, in partnership with the Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians (ASCEL) and Libraries Connected, look at the Challenge’s impact on the “summer slide”, a term that describes how children’s learning progress can stagnate or reverse over the summer.

It will also examine the role a public-library based reading activity can have on building better engagement with reading at home or at school.

Chair of the Summer Reading Challenge strategy group Janene Cox said: “Libraries across the UK welcome this grant from the Arts Council England. It will enable The Reading Agency to conduct an independent and thorough external evaluation of the Summer Reading Challenge that will evidence the strengths and opportunities that this important programme provides and also, hopefully identify areas where we need to focus and improve. Through this robust analysis, libraries and, most importantly, the children who participate will continue to see the benefits of this reading for pleasure programme.”

The Reading Agency will use standardised testing to measure the reading comprehension and confidence of pupils from 20 schools across the country, including some from deprived areas. The researchers will also conduct interviews with children, teachers and parents and carers to explore children’s perceptions of their own enjoyment of reading, reading skills, reading confidence and feelings of wellbeing.

Last year 699,076 children took part in the Summer Reading Challenge, a drop of 8% from the number who participated in 2017.

The grant to lead the research for this project is worth £65,000. Researchers interested in bidding for this can find out more at or contact Carina Spaulding, Research and Evaluation Manager at The deadline for receipt of tenders is 5pm on Monday 21st January 2019.