Summer Reading Challenge kicks off as one in three parents say reading slips in holidays

Summer Reading Challenge kicks off as one in three parents say reading slips in holidays

One in three parents say regular reading with their children slips in the summer holidays, according to a Reading Agency survey ahead of this year's Summer Reading Challenge.

To mark the Summer Reading Challenge’s 20th anniversary, The Reading Agency and libraries are calling on families to make space for reading over the summer by setting aside time each day to read together.

According to a Reading Agency poll of 1,500 parents from across the UK,  90% of parents and carers reported routines ‘slip’ over the summer, with regular reading, bedtimes and healthy eating all disrupted. 

35% of parents and carers said regular reading with their children falls, as 40% said the summer holidays leave them with an overriding sense of dreads tress or anxiety. 42% said they were left broke after the summer holidays and 23% said they seriously feel the pinch with more than half of parents and carers admitting they need to fork out an extra £500 - £1,500 for family entertainment during the six-week period. 8% admitted that they’re left with a dent in their wallet of at least £1,500. 

This year's Summer Reading Challenge launches tomorrow (Saturday 13th July) in libraries across the country. 

Sue Wilkinson, c.e.o. of The Reading Agency, said: “Summer holidays are meant to be fun – but this survey shows that worries about money and how to keep children occupied, as well as how to keep them learning, add pressure for many parents and carers. The Summer Reading Challenge is a fun, free activity for children which provides access to books and encourages reading for pleasure. 

“Over the past 20 years, The Reading Agency and libraries have seen first-hand the benefits that the Challenge can offer: from bringing families together to improving children’s confidence and helping them build empathy, reading has so many benefits, which is why we are encouraging families to make space for reading this summer. Reading as a family is also a particularly good way to generate conversation and even explore difficult issues.”

Konnie Huq, writer, TV presenter and ambassador for The Reading Agency, added: “I can definitely relate to feeling stressed in the lead-up to, and during the summer holidays. Finding things to do, and making sure your kids are enjoying every minute of their time can be pretty full on for parents. Not only does the Summer Reading Challenge keep children busy, but it’s something you can do together. There’s nothing quite like sitting down with your family and all sharing enthusiasm for books you all love. It’s a pretty cool feeling. I’d definitely encourage all parents and carers to make space for reading this summer.”

Inspired by the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, this year’s Summer Reading Challenge theme is Space Chase. Libraries across the country are planning a summer of events, with some creating their own planetariums or virtual reality experiences. Huq, space scientist Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, new Children's Laureate Cressida Cowell and The Reading Agency's head of children and young people’s reading Anne Sarrag were among guests celebrating this year's Challenge at the launch party at the British Library on Wednesday 10th July. 

Isobel Hunter, chief executive of Libraries Connected, said: “Public libraries are great at making reading fun and research shows children who use libraries are twice as likely to be above average readers. We’re really excited to be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Challenge, and hope this year’s campaign will help families see just how important it is to make space for reading.”