Gaelscoil Phortlaoise pupils at the launch of Summer Stars Summer Reading Challenge & Shona Ní Bheaglaí (Gaelscoil teacher), Brian Gallagher (author), Cllr John King (representing Cathaoirleach LCC).
Children and parents in Laois who are looking for an unforgettable fun challenge this summer should get themselves down to their local library and sign up for the Summer Stars Reading Challenge.
The Laois library services says the Summer Stars is an exciting reading-based programme which is available free of charge to children across the country through their local library.
Apart from the unforgettable fun of reading, children who participate can be in with a chance of winning a bicylce and other prizes.
Irish author Brian Gallagher came to Portlaoise last week to help Laois County Library Service launch the 2018 staging of the programme which has attract hundreds of young readers since in recent summers.
Brian Gallagher read from his recent book Pawns and exhorted the sixth class student’s to make the most of their last summer before secondary school.
"You will have memories from this summer your whole lives. They may be of a football match or a day at the beach but they may also be of the people and situations in the books you read too," he said.
He talked about reading his favourite book, Strumpet City when he was about their age and still remembering Rashers Tierney, Fitz and Mary. They might meet Johnny Dunne (the main character of Brian’s book Pawns) or Greg Heffley or Skulduggery Pleasant or travel to Hogwarts or Mount Olympus.
The challenge was officially launched by Cllr John King representing the Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council. He told students from Gaelscoil Portlaoise that Laois County Council was delighted to fund the library service and programmes like Summer Stars because they recognise the importance of reading both to people’s immediate enjoyment and quality of life as well as their education and future.
County Librarian, Bernie Foran appealed to parents to never give out to children for time spent reading.
"We want everyone reading!’ as she reminded parents that was a gift for life and free with the library service," she said.
The Summer Stars Reading Challenge will run during the summer in public libraries all over Ireland. Children are invited to register for the challenge from 13th June and enjoy reading lots of super books. As part of the challenge children are asked to read eight books before August 31.
They may be any type of book but must be borrowed from the library. Participants will be given a Summer Stars Wristband when they register and a Summer Stars Reading Card to be record and track their own progress. This should be stamped at the library when each book is finished and returned.
Those who read four books will earn a Summer Stars Bookmark and if participants read eight books they receive a Summer Stars Pencil Case and will be invited to a grand finale event to receive a certificate and medal.
If children have read eight books before the end of the summer they may join in the Super Stars Challenge. If participants read eight additional books (16 books in total) they are entered in two draws. The first draw is in the local branch with a prize of a Summer Stars backpack. The second draw is countywide. The winner of the county draw will receive a beautiful bicycle which was kindly donated by Halfords, Portlaoise.
Everyone is invited to check out the Summer Stars www.laoislibraries.ie or the national website at www.summerstars.ie which has lots of online games and activities as well as a range of animated ebooks.
You will find a children’s books discussion board and interviews with well-known people about their favourite books. There are also helpful tips for reading and recommended titles by age group for children to read. The books can then be borrowed from your local library service. And it’s all free!
You can follow Summers Stars on Twitter @StarsReading and on Facebook and Instagram at Summer Stars at your Library.