CHILDREN across Devon will have the chance to get involved in an exciting reading challenge in their local library this summer holiday, in conjunction with Devon County Council and the Reading Agency.
This year’s Summer Reading Challenge, entitled the ‘Mythical Maze’ also aims to improve children’s health and wellbeing and promote physical activity.
Over 9,000 children took part in the library service's Summer Reading Challenge last year - a record number of challengers.
This year the council is hoping for more, and is encouraging children to read six books or more to improve reading skills and vocabulary, build their confidence, and inspire a love for books.
The ‘Mythical Maze’ takes off in libraries this Saturday, 12 July, when goody bags and starter packs, illustrated by award-winning illustrator and author Sarah McIntyre, will be available from local libraries.
Children will be challenged to find their way around a labyrinth that introduces them to fantastical creatures from the world of legend and mythology, collecting stickers along the way. Beware, some stickers give off a nasty pong when scratched!
Goody bags given to every child starting the Challenge include a mini-Frisbee, a U-V wristband, a bottle of water, as well as advice to help keep young people active this summer.
Children receiving the bags can also take part in a competition to win one of several scooters, donated by Tesco.
From the end of July, children taking the Mythical Maze challenge can also join in with the 'The Giant's Story', an interactive digital game in which the children can follow a story and learn dance moves.
For more information about the Arts Council-funded game, visit www.stepintoabook.org.uk During the summer holidays children can also win one of two seven inch tablets by designing their own Mythical creature – go to www.devon.gov.uk/thezone for more details.
Councillor Roger Croad, the Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for libraries said: “This is our 16th Summer Reading Challenge. Children enjoy it, parents love it, and schools are pleased that children continue to read throughout the summer holidays.”
Councillor Andrea Davis, the Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for public health, said: “Evidence shows a strong connection between physical activity and improved health in children and young people.
"It’s important for children to be active every day for their healthy growth and development – and whether it’s light activity to more energetic sports, we should all be playing our part in encouraging them off the sofa.
“Thousands of children and parents make regular visits to their nearest libraries making this an excellent way to reach families with health and lifestyle messages.”