Fifty years on from the first moon landing, children in Sunderland are being encouraged to take part in an out of this world reading challenge.

The Summer Reading Challenge is held every year to encourage children of all ages to carry on reading over the summer holidays.

This year’s theme Space Chase is inspired by the first moon landing. Children taking part will be given a special mission folder to keep track of the six library books they’ll be reading over the summer as part of the Challenge.

There’ll also be lots of collectible incentives to help motivate them in their reading mission. To take part in Space Chase, all children need to do is to head to their local library.

Sunderland City Council Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture, Councillor John Kelly said: “Reading is a very important part of all our lives.

“Our annual Summer Reading Challenge encourages children and their families to take more of an interest in reading for pleasure.

“The more children read, or are helped with reading, the better they become at reading, and the greater their interest in wanting to read for themselves so this can only be a good thing especially over the summer holiday when children often get bored.”

Sharon Hodgson MP for Washington and Sunderland West, added: “I hope parents, grandparents and carers in Sunderland will take their children to the library over the summer to sign up for the Summer Reading Challenge.

“It’s free, inclusive and, most importantly, makes reading fun. Last year 1087 children in Tyne & Wear took part.

“I hope we can increase that number this year as public libraries are a valuable asset to our community and our city.”

The Summer Reading Challenge is a unique partnership between the Reading Agency and public libraries across the UK.

Last year around 700,000 children took part in borrowing, reading and talking about their favourite books.

Children can use the special website to create a profile, chat about books, and get help on what to read next, via the digital Book Sorter which already offers over 900,000 peer to peer children’s book recommendations in child-friendly categories.

The Summer Reading Challenge reaches children and young people of all ages. For pre-schoolers there is a mini challenge, while young people (aged 13 to 24) can volunteer and support younger children taking part.

Volunteering provides a quality workplace experience for young people in libraries, inspires them to think about their future career and increases their employability as they gain useful life skills and confidence. Last year over 6,790 young people across the UK volunteered.

Sue Wilkinson, CEO of The Reading Agency said: “At The Reading Agency, we tackle life’s big challenges through the proven power of reading.

“We know from our research that families and children love taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge, and we are proud to have been running the Challenge for twenty years this year.

“The space theme has been chosen to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing.

“Last summer, children worked with illustrator Adam Stower to come up with ideas for the Space Chase adventure, and we hope the Challenge will inspire all children to use their local library and to read lots of great books throughout the summer and beyond.”

For more information on the Summer Reading Challenge pop into City, Houghton or Washington Town Centre Library or by visiting

Follow the Summer Reading Challenge at and on Twitter @readingagency #summerreadingchallenge

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