Young readers in Aberdeenshire are being urged to go for gold this summer in the latest Summer Reading Challenge.
Run by the Aberdeenshire Council Library Service since 2000, the challenge is a fun and accessible way for children of all ages and abilities to get involved with books.
In recognition of the 2012 Olympic Games, this year’s challenge has been chosen to link in with the sporting theme and aims to help promote healthy bodies and minds.
The Marathon Read kicks off on Friday, June 15 and will run until Saturday, August 25.
The challenge requires children to read six books of their own choice over the summer holidays, and age appropriate prizes are available for those who complete it.
There are three age groups available for children to enter – six years and under, seven to nine years, and 10+ years.
Alongside the reading challenge, there will also be two fun competitions for children to enter, the first one involving creating a trophy and the second writing a short story about a day in the life of a hero or heroine.
The challenge will be launched on Friday, June 15, with a ‘marathon’ 26.1 mile journey by the mobile van which will visit New Deer Primary School, Turriff Library and Fyvie Primary School along the route.
Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Education, Learning and Leisure Committee, Councillor Isobel Davidson, said: “Last year 8,981 children took part in this challenge and it just seems to grow and grow in popularity.
“Its success is testament to the fact that books and libraries still have a very important part to play in our communities and also to the hard work and support of library staff and our partners Total E&P UK.
“It would be great to see participant numbers hit the 9,000 mark this year and I urge schools and children to come on board and take part in the 2012 Marathon Read.”
Vice-chair of the committee, Councillor Ron McKail, added: “I am sure the Library Service must be delighted at the year on year success of the Summer Reading Challenge which hinges on it being fun, accessible and flexible.
“All the staff involved put in a huge amount of hard work to make this event a continual success and the accolades which come in from parents and teachers, as well as the children themselves, make it clear that the challenge engages and involves the whole family.”
Sandra McIntosh, Communications Advisor for competition sponsors Total E&P UK, said: “In this Olympic year, let’s hope we are all going for gold with this summer’s Aberdeenshire Reading Challenge and beat last year’s participation record.
“We look forward to judging the entries and meeting the champions at the prize giving ceremony in October. Good luck to all – here’s to a record breaking challenge!”
The organisers design the challenge to ensure that children of all abilities are able to take part and encourage participants to read their own choice of books, listen to talking books or download and read e-books over the school summer holiday period.
Children can take part by registering at any branch or mobile library in Aberdeenshire. For more information, visit http://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/libraries/young_people/challenge.asp.