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Hundreds of children across Portsmouth are set for a summer of fun and learning as they take part in The Reading Agency's Summer Reading Challenge.

Portsmouth City Council is once again supporting the national initiative, which promotes the benefits of children aged four to 11 reading for pleasure during the school holidays and has seen increasing numbers of local children take part in recent years.

To complete the challenge, children simply need to borrow and read six or more library books over the summer, from 9 July to 18 September. The challenge recognises reading in all forms, including books of any size, graphic novels, poetry, picture books and audio books.

This year’s reading challenge theme is Gadgeteers, designed to help children discover the world of science and innovation in their everyday lives, including baking, music and tech. Topics include:

  • Everyday science
  • Invention and creation
  • Fun with friends
  • Young heroes
  • Making the world a better place

An element of Portsmouth City Council’s 2040 Vision is to be a city of lifelong learning, where our young people are encouraged to develop high, positive aspirations that empower them and enrich their lives. The Summer Reading Challenge encourages school children to continue building their skills and confidence in reading during the summer break from school.

Cllr Steve Pitt, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Economic Development said: “The summer reading challenge is a wonderful initiative and a fun, free activity for children to enjoy throughout the summer. We look forward to welcoming families into our libraries and seeing what books they enjoy over the coming weeks.”

Cllr Suzy Horton, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children, Families & Education said: “Learning to read is one of the greatest gifts we can give children; it’s an amazing way to learn about people, to experience the past, to enter imaginary worlds, to understand different perspectives and travel the world from the comfort and safety of your home. It’s a skill that will bring opportunities and enjoyment for the rest of their lives, and the Summer Reading Challenge is an exciting way to start children on this journey.”

To join the challenge, simply visit any Portsmouth library to sign up for a library card, get your free summer reading challenge pack and choose some books to get started. Alternately, sign up online at

Once signed up, your child will be given their own pack which includes sections to rate the books that they have read. Through the pack, your child will join six fictional friends, The Gadgeteers, who all have their own unique personalities, talents and aspirations, in their mission to throw an epic summer party. Each time your child completes and returns a book, they will be awarded a sticker from the library, which completes the story in their pack.

Everyone who takes part in the Summer Reading Challenge will be invited to Southsea Castle on Sunday 18 September to collect a medal at the very popular winners’ event.