Children’s Summer Reading Challenge takes on environmental theme

Summer Reading ChallengeTHIS year’s Summer Reading Challenge is off to a flying start with more than 1,000 children in Dorset signing up in the last three weeks.

The Reading Agency’s Summer Reading Challenge is delivered in partnership with public libraries. This year, they have teamed up with wildlife charity WWF for the theme ‘Wild World Heroes’, inspiring children to explore ways of helping to save the planet.

The challenge focuses on action for nature and tackling real-world environmental issues, including plastic pollution, wildlife decline and nature loss.

Children will join six fictional characters, the ‘wild heroes’, to help solve some of these threats. They will learn about the importance of the environment while helping to restore nature levels.

The Wyke Regis Rainbows group were first to take on the challenge in Dorset and have already been enjoying exploring books about the natural environment and discussing issues affecting the planet.

The challenge runs until September 11 and children aged between 4 and 11 years can sign up for free at their local library.

Those taking part will receive special stickers every time they finish a book and will get a certificate and medal once they complete the challenge.

In addition, there’s a fun range of accessible reading activities available online to help keep families entertained over the school holiday.

The two ambassadors for this year’s challenge are the teenage naturalist, award-winning writer and broadcaster Dara McAnulty, and award-winning explorer, presenter, and writer Steve Backshall.

Dara said: “I am so excited to be championing The Reading Agency’s Summer Reading Challenge, to encourage children to enjoy the benefits of reading for pleasure over the summer holidays.

“I’m 17 years old now, but not so long ago the Summer Reading Challenge was something myself and my siblings completed every summer.

“It’s such a joy to now be an ambassador and encourage other children to take part in this wonderful scheme.

“I’m delighted that The Reading Agency is teaming up with WWF for this year’s very special nature-themed ‘Wild World Heroes’, to help children explore ways of helping our magnificent earth.

Steve added: “I am thrilled to be supporting the Summer Reading Challenge 2021. The Reading Agency has teamed up with WWF for Wild World Heroes, an exciting nature-themed reading challenge that will inspire children to take action for the environment.

“Wild World Heroes will spark conversations about the issues facing our planet, from plastic pollution to wildlife decline, and will show how we can all work together to look after our world.”

Tanya Steele, CEO of WWF, said: “Young people are the future – and they are some of the most passionate and enthusiastic advocates for our natural world.

“I’m continuously inspired by our young supporters at WWF and their efforts to speak up for nature, often in wonderful and creative ways.”

Schools Minister Nick Gibb added: “Reading is a cornerstone of children’s education and a key skill for developing their language and vocabulary.

“After the impact of the pandemic on young people, this year’s Summer Reading Challenge is more timely than ever, and a great opportunity for children to discover the joy of reading while building knowledge of vital environmental issues.”

Councillor Jill Haynes, Dorset Council portfolio holder for customer and community services, commented: “We hope this year’s Summer Reading Challenge will be as popular as ever with local families. It’s a fantastic way to get children reading over the summer.

“This year’s theme will also encourage children to learn more about our environment and what we can do to help protect it.”

Visit for more information or sign up to take part in the Summer Reading Challenge at your local library or online.

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