'Read, read read' this summer

News Laois library's Summer Stars Reading Challenge launched by Irish kids author Patricia Forde

'Read, read read' this summer
By Lynda Kiernan lynda.kiernan@leinsterexpress.ie @laoisnews

Children from Gael Scoil Phort Laoise and Scoil Bhride NS joined with children's author Patricia Forde recently to launch a summer reading challenge in Laois.

The Galway author of books like 'The Kings Secret' and 'Frogs don't like Dragons', Ms Forde met the students at Portlaoise Library, where she encouraged them and indeed all young people to ‘read, read, read‘ over their summer holidays.

She officially launched the Summer Stars Reading Challenge 2016, with the help of classes from Gael Scoil Phortlaoise and Scoil Bhride, both from Portlaoise.

Organised by Laois County Library Service, the annual Summer Reading Challenge is aimed at children up to twelve year olds as well as their families.

The challenge is “ simple, fun and free”.

Children are encouraged to read six or more library books of their choice during the summer holidays.

Entrants willeach receive their own Summer Stars Reading Card to record their progress, and the Summer Stars Reward Stamp will be added to their card at the library for each book read.

Fun rewards will be provided along the way.

Those who finish the challenge will be presented with their medal by the author Patricia Forde, at a special presentation day in September.

“Parents and carers love the challenge. Not only is it free but they can see the difference the Summer Reading Challenge makes to their children’s reading. Last year 1,300 children took part across Laois,” said Suzanne Carroll, Assistant Librarian in Portlaoise.

There are extra fun elements to this year's event, with tickets to Tayto park as prizes.

The ‘Golden ticket’ Family Reading Challenge encourages adults and children of all ages to read together and enter a draw for a family ticket to Tayto Park.

The ‘Star Spot’ Photo Competition. invites children to take a photograph of their book in their favourite place to read.

The photo with the most Facebook likes will win one ticket to Tayto Park.

“On days you can’t get to the library, there is still the Summer Stars webpages at www.librariesireland.ie It include lots of great activities, games, Talking Ebooks, stories, reading tips, book suggestions by age group and humorous interviews with children’s authors and other celebrities,” said librarian Ms Carroll.

Tips to encourage children to complete the Reading Challenge include visiting the local library as often as possible, and showing a good example by reading in front of children, whether it's a book, magazine or newspaper.

“There are all kinds of events going on in libraries, and children soon get caught up in the fun,” said Ms Carroll.

Children must be allowed to select books they like.

It is important to let children choose their own books. If they don’t like a book, just move on to the next one,

or ask one of the library staff to recommend a read.  Children don’t just have to read stories or novels. Fact books, audio books, poetry – they all count,” she said.

Children can now sign up at their local library for the challenge.

It is one of many free children’s events to be found in Laois libraries this summer.

Among the fun to be had is the ‘summer club’ , a creative writing workshop, a rocket making workshop, Photobooth events and of course the ‘Dahlicious ‘ movies in pyjamas.

Details are available on www.laoislibraries.ie.