Big Friendly Read, Summer Reading Challenge 2016

Print….it’s fun, it’s friendly and best of all, it’s totally FREE at your local library!


The Big Friendly Read is celebrating 100 years of the world’s greatest storyteller, Roald Dahl. It is aimed at 4-11 year olds and is simple and fun! Children sign up at their local library, and then read (or listen to) six library books to gain a medal* and certificate, collecting limited edition Quentin Blake cards along the way – all for FREE!

Children’s reading can ‘dip’ during the long summer holidays if they don’t have regular access to books and encouragement to read for pleasure. This can be a problem for schools to put right in the new term, and The Reading Agency’s annual Summer Reading Challenge really helps by getting three quarters of a million children into libraries over the summer. There is no other free reading activity that involves so many children, introduces families to their library, encourages children to choose books freely and independently and is endorsed by parents, teachers and the department for education.

Download our guides to a great range of awesome reads to try over the summer: Complete Guide to Recommended Summer Reading 2016,

Recommended Summer reading for dyslexic and reluctant readers 2016

Looking for general inspiration? Useful websites for bookish inspiration

Click here to view the fantastic range of children’s activities in Swindon libraries throughout the summer.

The BFG is being released in UK cinemas on 22nd July. Join up to the Challenge between 9th and 24th July to be in with a chance to win a cinema voucher kindly donated by Cineworld…and you could go see this splendiferous film (or any others over the summer) for free!

After reading the 1st book children can enter a competition to win prizes ranging from books, to vouchers donated from local businesses**. After 2 books there are whoopsy whiffling wristbands available* (subject to availability) and after 5 books there is a voucher to borrow one of our children’s DVDs for free.

On days you can’t get to the library, there is still The Big Friendly Read website, ( ) with so much for children to discover. Children can keep a record of their Challenge, recommend books and decide what to read next using the Book Sorter.

The Big Friendly Read runs from Saturday 16th July until Sunday 4th September 2016 (children can register from 9th July, start reading and get their first collector cards from 16th July).

So what do parents and children think of previous Summer Reading Challenges?
“Autistic, has helped improve his speech.”
“At Southfield school they tested the children’s reading ages before and after the summer holidays. My grandson made a 2 year improvement over this time”
“He would possibly have refused to read at all during the summer if it wasn’t for the summer reading challenge” (parent of child aged 6)
“My boy is gaining vocabulary and increasing his concentration skills”
“She is more confident with her words” (parent of child aged 5)
“My 4 year old starts school in September – SRC was a great opportunity to get interested in reading books.”
“”My children love and wait excitedly for when the SRC will start”

04readlowComments made by children included:
“I think it is fun because if we don’t have anything to do in the holidays we can do the challenge. We can have fun with learning”
“I liked doing the record breakers challenge because my friends told me and one of the people from the library came to tell us. I thought I’d give it a try and it was really fun and I enjoyed it a lot”
“I enjoyed the challenge of having to read more books with my family and having a goal to get medals/stickers. I have gained confidence in talking to unfamiliar people as I am quite shy”

The Roald Dahl Museum has kindly offered free weekend entry to EVERY child who is taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge during the summer holiday period (25 June to 4 September) so take along proof of taking part e.g. your fold out collector wallet, for a whoopsy whiffling visit!

The Big Friendly Read is produced by The Reading Agency, and delivered by libraries.
Any queries can be sent to: or ask at your local library.

*Not suitable for ages 3 and under

**Prizes have kindly been donated by the following businesses:

Kidz About    2 x free entry vouchers Valid all week for 1 adult and 1 child
Lazerquest  Two complimentary passes valid until 04/09/2017, for up to 5 players, valid Monday-Thursday after 5pm (or 2 games for £3.00 per person)
Birdland   2 adults + two children voucher valid until 31 December 2017
Butts Farm Rare Breeds Two complimentary child passes when accompanied by paying adult
Fairytale Farm One family FREE! (Up to two adults and two children under 16)
Cineworld  Two complimentary passes valid until October 2016
Wyvern Theatre Gangsta Granny, Wyvern Family ticket (for 4) to Gangsta Granny for the performance on Fri 30 September at 7pm
Freedog  3 free open bounce tickets, valid until April 2017

Photographs © Dale Cherry for The Reading Agency with thanks to Crawley Library

The Reading Agency is an independent charity with a mission to give everyone an equal chance in life by helping people become confident and enthusiastic readers. It is funded by the Arts Council, and has a formal partnership with public library services.

For more information on the Summer Reading Challenge 2016 including how to get involved and resources for schools, go to

Follow the Summer Reading Challenge on Facebook: .