Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, Dawn Bowden had the opportunity to join the Summer Reading Challenge and Summer of Fun activities at Merthyr Library this week.
The Summer Reading Challenge (SRC), led by The Reading Agency, is a much-loved initiative that features in libraries each year and is designed to keep children reading over the summer holidays. This year it’s built around STEM learning under the theme Gadgeteers.
Libraries across Wales have also joined forces with the Welsh Government’s Summer of Fun programme and, inspired by the SRC Gadgeteers, are providing children with even more STEM related events and activities over the summer holidays. Running each day of the holidays right through to September, they’re all designed to open children’s eyes and imaginations to the science all around them via a menu of hands-on STEM inspired activities, free fun and games and a programme of over 50 free events led by favourite children’s authors.
This week Deputy Minister Dawn Bowden joined parents and children for a session by Karla Brading – Merthyr Tydfil author and artist.
Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, Dawn Bowden, said; “It was great fun to join the session today, and to take part in some creative writing with Karla Brading and the families who attended. I’m delighted that we’re able to support libraries across Wales to make reading a fun-filled activity for children across Wales – and to help them discover the joy of reading and spark their imaginations.”
“Families across Wales are feeling the impacts of the cost-of-living crisis, and their library is the perfect, freely accessible place to go on a summer adventure,” added Nicola Pitman, chair of the Society of Chief Librarians Cymru and library lead on the campaign.
“We’ve laid on a massive programme of activities across Wales to help unleash children’s imaginations over the summer months. And, of course, libraries are – always will be – the best first stop for families wanting to discover and get advice on other things to do together across the holidays. And the free reads they can take away with them as they go!”
During 2021, the Summer Reading Challenge reached 21,148 children across Wales in partnership with public libraries. The Challenge continued to reach well over half a million children across the UK in 2021 as lockdowns eased, motivating children to keep reading during a difficult time. Families told The Reading Agency that taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge helped their children to enjoy reading more, feel more confident about reading and ‘feel better’ during a tough period. Family use of libraries also increased amongst Challenge participants, with more than 1779 children from Wales joining the library as new members.