Summer Reading Challenge

Space Chase Summer Reading Challenge

Every year, thousands of families all over the country are involved in the UK's biggest free reading event for children in libraries, the Summer Reading Challenge.  

Children's reading can 'dip' during the long summer holidays if they don’t have regular access to books and encouragement to read for pleasure and this can be a real problem for schools to put right in the new term. 

The Summer Reading Challenge which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year is produced by The Reading Agency and delivered by libraries.  It helps support children’s literacy by getting thousands of children and their families regularly visiting their local library over the summer.  

All libraries in Derby including those which are community managed will be running the Summer Reading Challenge throughout the summer holidays in 2019.

Join the super space family, The Rockets in an out-of-this-world adventure with a thrilling mission to track down books stolen by mischievous aliens.

The challenge is to read or share six library books, collecting rewards along the way, with a certificate on completion and a special extra award for reading four extra books.  Children can read any books they like – stories, fact books, picture books.  Audio books and eBooks also count.

The challenge is supported by a programme of free events.  Pick up a brochure at your local library for more details.

Children can sign up at any library in Derby from Saturday 13 July.  The Challenge ends on Saturday 14 September 2019.

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How will the challenge help my child?

  • Research shows that reading for pleasure is one of the most important contributory factors in children’s learning success. 
  • The Summer Reading Challenge encourages children to read during the long summer break when their reading skills can decline without the regular reading activity at school.
  • Taking part in the Challenge helps to sustain children’s enthusiasm for reading and prevent the 'summer holiday dip'
  • The combination of creativity, fun activities and reading choice can have a real impact on children’s reading ability, range and motivation, boosting their confidence and leading to a more positive attitude towards learning.
  • Children who enjoy reading are more likely to score highly on reading assessments than those who don't; and those who use libraries are twice as likely to be above average readers

What’s the theme for 2019?

  • This year's Summer Reading Challenge is Space Chase; an out-of-this-world adventure inspired by the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing.
  • The storyline features super space family, The Rockets on a thrilling mission to track down books stolen by mischievous aliens. 
  • Space Chase presents bespoke artwork from top children's illustrator, Adam Stower and celebrates adventure, exploration, reading and fun.

How does it work?

  • The challenge is to read six library books during the summer holidays.
  • Everyone who joins will get a free Space Chase collector folder, with clues to solve to help our space family find the aliens, uncover the missing books and complete the mission.  Can they find the aliens in time to save the day?
  • As usual, there will be space on the collector folder for children to keep track of their progress and rate the books they’ve read, as well as other fun activities.  The folder is easy for children to fold up and transport to and from the library.
  • There are six stickers to collect – one for every book read - to help children complete the story.  Some are scratch and sniff.
  • Children who complete the Challenge will get a certificate and a special pair of card glasses, pre-creased and cut-out (no lenses) ready to wear to identify them as little Space Chasers. The glasses will feature artwork from Space Chase to colour in.
  • There's an extra reward for those who read a further four books – this year’s unique wristband is neon green with Space Chase Summer Reading Challenge de-bossed into the surface of the band. 
  • There are also linked events and activities to encourage families into libraries.  

Who can take part?

  • The Summer Reading Challenge is aimed at children aged from 4 to 11 years and is designed for all reading abilities
  • There are special age appropriate preschool materials for younger siblings to take part as well.

How do children sign up?

  • It’s free to join the Challenge.  Children can sign up and get their free pop-out Mischief Makers bookmark at any library in Derby from Saturday 13 July.
  • Children must be a member of the library to take part.  If they haven't got a library card, they can sign up for one; that’s free too.  Click here to find out more about how to join the library or ask the library staff.   

What books can children read?

  • They can read any books they like - fact books, stories, joke books, picture books - just as long as they are borrowed from the library.
  • Audio books and eBooks count as well! 
  • For younger children and those learning to read, it’s fine to read or share books together with a parent or carer.

What events can children attend?

  • There will be free Space Chase events throughout the summer holidays including “If You Believe…a trio of space themed tales from Jonathan Emmett, Simon James and Dom Conlon”  presented by performance storyteller John Kirk. 
  • Also animal handling workshops presented by ZooLab UK featuring a space race story inspired by amazing animal space facts with opportunities to see, learn about and handle a range of exotic animals including tree frogs, corn snakes, stick insects, tarantulas and giant African land snails. 
  • Children attending any of our events must be signed up to the Summer Reading Challenge
  • Full details including dates and venues will be available nearer the time at local libraries and on our website.

What else can children do?

  • More reading ideas and fun themed activities will be available on the Summer Reading Challenge website at

How can younger children get involved?

  • Children aged three years and under can also join the challenge. 
  • They will receive a special membership card featuring age-appropriate activities to do with their parents and carers with spaces for six themed promotional stickers.
  • Like their older siblings, pre-schoolers will collect one sticker for each book they borrow and share with a parent or carer and a certificate when they complete the Challenge.   

When does the Challenge end?

  • The challenge ends on Saturday 14 September 2019.