Nearly 1500 children from Portsmouth have completed the Summer Reading Challenge this year, and their families will be flocking to the Southsea Castle Winners’ Event on Sunday 24 September from 11am-4pm to celebrate in style.

The children have been visiting Portsmouth Libraries in their hundreds to sign up for the challenge, which encourages young people to keep up their reading skills over the summer holidays, as well as taking part in loads of free and fun activities in their local library.

Children have set their own targets, choosing how may books they will borrow and read over the long summer break.  Most importantly, the Challenge recognises reading in all sorts of formats so there’s something for everyone: story books, graphic novels, poetry, joke books, picture books eBooks and eAudio books can all be borrowed from the city’s local libraries.

This year’s challenge theme has been Ready, Set, Read! and is aimed at encouraging children to keep their minds and bodies active over the summer holidays. For every book they have read, the children receive stickers and other incentives to keep them reading, before finally being presented with a certificate in their local library.

All children completing the challenge have been invited to Sunday’s winners’ ceremony at Southsea Castle where they will be presented with an environmentally friendly wooden medal and get to enjoy a free and fantastic fun day out for all the family.

This year, young people can take part in a Silent Disco, enjoy special story times from Debutots, face painting, keep active with Bounce Fitness and enjoy a special puppet show, performed by the Doyle Detectives.  The mobile library and some costumed characters will also be attending. The event runs from 11am-4pm.

Cllr Steve Pitt, Leader of Portsmouth City Council and Cabinet Member responsible for culture, said:

“I am delighted that the Summer Reading Challenge has been such a success this year. Reading provides a whole host of benefits. It improves self-esteem, frees the imagination, broadens the vocabulary, brings joy, and most importantly, it’s fun! Thank you to our libraries for providing such a valuable service.”

Cllr Suzy Horton, Deputy Leader at Portsmouth City Council and Cabinet Member for Children, Families & Education added:

“The Summer Reading Challenge is a great way to get young people started in developing vital life skills, which opens up opportunities and enhances their enjoyment for the rest of their lives. I think it’s fantastic that 1500 children have taken part this year and that they get to attend this wonderful event to reward them for their efforts”.