Coronavirus: council service information and advice

Information about changes to council services as a result of coronavirus

All primary school aged children in Portsmouth to receive a Silly Squad summer reading challenge pack.

Almost 16,000 primary-age children will get the deliveries. This campaign, to promote mass participation in the Summer Reading Challenge in the city, is believed to be the first of its kind in the UK.

Cllr Steve Pitt, Cabinet Member for Culture and City Development and Deputy Leader, said: "There's never been a better time to take part in the Summer Reading Challenge. With the support of many teams across library services and schools, we are thrilled to be able to provide all primary school children in Portsmouth with the reading pack - that's nearly 16,000 children! We believe such an initiative to be a UK-first and proud to make it happen in Portsmouth."

Before the end of the summer term, all Portsmouth pupils in Year R - Year 6 will receive the free pack, which contains a fold-out poster and stickers so that they can record their reading activity over the holidays.

The packs encourage children to join the Silly Squad - a team of adventurous animals - and join in a summer reading challenge. There is plenty of fun, happiness and laughter hidden in the pages of books waiting for children to discover them.

The packs will be distributed to the children by the school following government guidelines around hygiene and social distancing. Harper Collins publishers have also donated some free books for schools.

Children can either use the fold-out poster and sticker pack to participate, or register securely online by visiting www.summerreadingchallenge.org.uk. As well as reading, there are lots of other fun activities such as games and quizzes. There are free gifts up for grabs, and families can share what they're doing on social media.

Children can read the recommended six books over the summer, or set their own reading targets. Children can still borrow books and collect other goodies from one the three library branches and mobile library open in Portsmouth. Families can also download eBooks, eAudiobooks for free along with lots of other exciting services at portsmouth.spydus.co.uk.

The library Facebook page (@portsmouthlibraries) will also regularly post children's activities over the summer holidays.

Completers of the summer reading challenge will be presented with their certificate and medal when they return to school in the autumn term.

Cllr Suzy Horton, Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education, said: "In these challenging times, what better way to escape to a world beyond your imagination and lose yourself in a good book! We hope children with their families will enjoy being silly and have fun with this year's summer reading challenge. Please share your special silly summer moments using the social hashtags - we all need a bit more silliness and fun at the moment."

Children and families are invited to share their 'silly' experiences and stories on the Official Portsmouth Libraries Facebook page using hashtags #sillysquad and #SRCPortsmouth.

16 July 2020 also marks Reading Together Day to celebrate the power of reading and to inspire children and their families to read together.