Awen Cultural Trust will launch the 2024 Summer Reading Challenge and Awen Libraries’ summer programme of activities with a fun-filled, family event at Newbridge Fields in Bridgend on Saturday 13th July from 12 – 3pm. The event is supported by Bridgend County Borough Council.

‘Fun in the Park’ will include inflatables, movement and dance sessions, giant games, storytime and crafts, a treasure hunt, and much more. Bridge FM’s Breakfast DJ Lee Jukes will be broadcasting live from the event. All activities are provided free of charge.

The aim of the Summer Reading Challenge, which has been run by the Reading Agency in partnership with public libraries since 1999, is aimed at children from 4 – 11 years old. It supports this age group (although younger and older children can also register) and their families by:

  • Preparing children to get back to the classroom in the autumn.
  • Supporting the move into a new year group or key stage.
  • Boosting children’s confidence and self-esteem by supporting independent reading.
  • Providing free access to books and fun family activities during the summer.

It is hoped this year’s theme of ‘Marvellous Makers’, which has been developed with leading arts charity Create, will fire up children’s imaginations and unleash storytelling and creativity through the power of reading.

Following the launch, libraries across Bridgend County Borough will run a programme of events including African drumming workshops, Craft Junction workshops, Zack Franks Movement and Dance workshops and Carl John ‘The Magic Man’ workshops.

Richard Hughes, Chief Executive of Awen Cultural Trust, said:

“The annual Summer Reading Challenge is a win-win-win! Families benefit from free events and activities over the expensive school holiday period, children are excited to read books in exchange for rewards and our colleagues love seeing lots of happy faces enjoying spending time in their libraries.

“There’s a more serious side to the Summer Reading Challenge too. 1 in 4 children cannot read well by the age of 11, which hugely limits their life choices and skills. We’re committed to doing all we can within our libraries and local communities to develop and retain children’s literacy.”

Claire Marchant, Corporate Director for Social Services and Wellbeing at Bridgend County Borough Council, said:

“Reading is not only a fundamental skill – it also inspires and stimulates our imaginations. For this year’s Summer Reading Challenge, we want to ignite the fun for young people in being creative and exploring imaginative ideas through reading and learning! Hopefully, these experiences will transfer to our young people’s daily lives. We hope all children across the county borough will enjoy taking part in the activities.”

The Summer Reading Challenge in Wales is supported by Welsh Government and Books Council of Wales.