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Thousands of Portsmouth children are taking part in The Summer Reading Challenge, with sign-ups 82 per cent higher than last year.

More than 2,400 children have joined The Summer Reading Challenge, supported by Portsmouth City Council libraries. The challenge encourages kids to explore all forms of literature.

This year, children can set their own reading goals to complete the challenge, with the recommended target being six books. Children simply need to borrow and read their library books over the summer holidays, 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, all of which can be borrowed from the city’s local libraries.

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.

All children completing the challenge will be invited to a winner’s ceremony at Southsea Castle on 18 September, where they will be presented with an eco-friendly wooden medal as well as have a fun day out with entertainment provided.

Cllr Steve Pitt, the council’s 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 seeing what books they enjoy over the coming weeks.”

The challenge is available in all Portsmouth libraries. There are also a range of other events being held at Portsmouth Central Library over the summer for children and adults to enjoy. Families can participate in HAF Fun Pompey’s creative writing and craft workshops, storytelling, and Stomp for Stamps.

The multitude of activities are part of Portsmouth’s 2040 vision of lifelong learning and a healthy and happy city.

Cllr Pitt also commented: “I am so proud of all the activities provided for the city’s children this summer. We are dedicated to encouraging our young people to develop their love of learning, talents and abilities, to empower them and enrich their lives.”

HAF Fun Pompey (Holiday Activities and Food) is working with the Central Library to provide activities for the whole family, as well as a hot meal. If a child is eligible for free school meals, then the whole family attends and gets a meal for FREE. There are also pay-as-you-go spaces, which are £6.50 per person.  Children will take part in textile crafts, enjoy storytelling and creative writing sessions plus some theatre workshops.

These activity days will take place from 10am to 2pm on 9, 16, 18, and 23 August and can be booked in advance by emailing

Stomp for Stamps revolves around the Pompey Monsters. They will encourage children to explore mapped areas, guided by a map book, which can be collected from any Portsmouth library.

Children must walk, cycle or scoot to complete at least three of the routes, each led by a different Pompey Monster and their animal or insect friends, and can be found on posts, railings, or benches. Children will stop to capture the creatures and take a colourful rubbing of their textured surface to return to a library, in exchange for a sticker.

Once children have at least three stickers for their book, they can collect a Pompey Monster prize from the library. This year’s prize is a 100% recyclable Pompey Monster Cotton draw string bag.

For more information on Stomp for Stamps or The Summer Reading Challenge, visit and click libraries, or speak to your local librarian. To book onto HAF events, visit or email