Summer Reading Challenge: Hitchin, Letchworth and Baldock kids take part in record numbers

PUBLISHED: 12:18 18 September 2017 | UPDATED: 12:25 18 September 2017

Summer Reading Challenge: Children receive certificates for completing the reading challenge at Hitchin Library. Picture: Danny Loo

Summer Reading Challenge: Children receive certificates for completing the reading challenge at Hitchin Library. Picture: Danny Loo

Danny Loo Photography 2017

Record numbers of children have taken part in the summer reading challenge run by the Hitchin, Letchworth and Baldock libraries this year – with more than 900 in Hitchin alone.

Summer Reading Challenge: Children receive certificates for completing the reading challenge at Hitchin Library. Picture: Danny LooSummer Reading Challenge: Children receive certificates for completing the reading challenge at Hitchin Library. Picture: Danny Loo

Kids collected smelly stickers for each book they read during the Summer Reading Challenge, which is run by The Reading Agency charity alongside public libraries.

The theme was Animal Agents, as children took on the challenge of reading six books between July 15 and early September – with all completers receiving a wristband, certificate and medal.

There were 904 participants in Hitchin, 708 in Letchworth and 357 in Baldock – all records – while an impressive total of 1,368 took part in Stevenage.

Hitchin nine-year-old Julia Pascoe said: “I really enjoyed the challenge and think loads of people should do it. It helps people to learn to read better and read more advanced books.”

Summer Reading Challenge: Children receive certificates for completing the reading challenge at Hitchin Library. Picture: Danny LooSummer Reading Challenge: Children receive certificates for completing the reading challenge at Hitchin Library. Picture: Danny Loo

Similar sentiments came from eight-year-old Eva Hobson, who said: “We moved house over the holiday and so we were super busy, but I worked hard to complete the challenge and I really enjoyed it.”

Mum-of-two Susie Winstanley added: “The challenge inspired my daughter to start reading chapter books for the first time. My children loved talking about their books and the volunteers were great, listening and recommending books.”

Hitchin Library manager Bekah Nicolas told the Comet the challenge was all about having fun with reading, and that had certainly been seen across Herts libraries.

She said: “It is so special for us to see so much enthusiasm in the library and so many children enjoying reading all sorts of different books – their love of reading is definitely something to celebrate.

“In addition to our super staff, we have been very lucky to have had the support of 22 volunteers aged between 14 and 24, who have been absolute stars and truly made a difference to children throughout Hitchin and the surrounding area – contributing 290 volunteer-hours between them.

“A big thank you to the schools, parents and carers for supporting this challenge, it makes a huge difference. Biggest thank you and well done to all the children and young people taking part – you have given us a super summer.”

You can follow what’s going on at Hitchin Library on Twitter, using the handle @hitchinlibrary.

On the subject of reading, Hitchin is set to hold its inaugural children’s book festival next month, when illustrator-authors James Mayhew and Harriet Muncaster visit the British Schools Museum on Saturday, October 28.

James Mayhew and Harriet Muncaster with the Hitchin Children's Book Festival team at the British Schools Museum. Picture: Danny PearsonJames Mayhew and Harriet Muncaster with the Hitchin Children's Book Festival team at the British Schools Museum. Picture: Danny Pearson

The rough schedule currently stands at 10am to 12.30pm, with slots for 60 people to attend at £2 apiece. To find out more see britishschoolsmuseum.co.uk/page/154.

Biggleswade, Sandy, Potton

A Stotfold woman has raised nearly £10,000 for Garden House Hospice Care with an evening of prosecco and pampering, in memory of beloved mum and grandmother.

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