FAMILIES are being invited to enjoy #ReadingTogether on Thursday as part of the Summer Reading Challenge.
Reading Together Day – 16 July – has been organised by the Reading Agency so that families from across the country can share their love of reading for pleasure. It links into the Summer Reading Challenge, which is being supported by Leicester Libraries and encourages children to keep reading over the summer months.
To take part, simply post online using the hashtag #ReadingTogether. You could post a picture of your family enjoying a book, recommend some personal favourites or share your plans for reading over the summer.
A programme of online activities is also available on the day, including readings from authors and contributors, virtual panel events and book recommendations. Ambassadors for the day will include Paralympic medallist and presenter Ade Adepitan, mathematician Bobby Seagull, Waterstones Children's Laureate Cressida Cowell, author Jacqueline Wilson, poet Joseph Coehlo, author and presenter Konnie Huq, Professor Teresa Cremin and author Tom Palmer. A schedule of events for the day is available on the Reading Agency website.
Assistant city mayor for neighbourhoods Cllr Kirk Master said: “We’re all facing new challenges at the moment – especially here in Leicester, with our extended lockdown. Reading Together Day is chance to take a bit of time out, connect with other families and appreciate the escapism and comfort that reading can bring.
“Reading for pleasure can increase confidence, support educational achievement and – perhaps most importantly of all – improve wellbeing. It doesn’t matter what you read or how much – just join in and enjoy it.”
The city council’s libraries service has adapted to the challenges of the coronavirus lockdown by offering a wide range of digital services. This includes supporting the digital Summer Reading Challenge for children which this year takes the theme of the ‘Silly Squad’. It runs until September and is easy to join at www.sillysquad.org.uk
Local author Steve Skidmore has teamed up with Leicester Libraries and the Schools Development Support Agency’s Offschool initiative to create a film encouraging children and families to join the Silly Squad. It’s available to view at https://offschool.org.uk/ and will be joined by three further films from Steve over the course of the summer, all with a silly, fun or adventurous theme. They will be released on 27 July, 3 August and 17 August.
And to celebrate silliness and laughter, there’s a Joke-a-Day posted Monday to Friday on the Leicester Libraries Facebook page. Children are invited to send in their own joke to join in our Silly Squad fun.
Leicester Libraries’ online resources include an extended range of ebooks, audio books and ecomics available to borrow for free. You can borrow up to five titles for up to 21 days - visit the Libraries from home webpage to find out more or to join the library online.
You can also access new Once Upon A time virtual storytelling sessions from libraries staff, enjoy fortnightly Bookstart Silly Stories for pre-school children and join in with some imaginative participation stories from The Spark Arts.
And 5,000 Leicester children, identified through a partnership which focuses on vulnerable families lacking good digital access, are being provided with real books and summer reading resources to ensure they don’t miss out.
For more details on all these activities to get Leicester #ReadingTogether this summer, go to www.leicester.gov.uk/librariesfromhome