Children: Reading

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 21st February 2022.

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Photo of Lord Bassam of Brighton Lord Bassam of Brighton Shadow Spokesperson (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) (Sport), Shadow Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and International Trade)

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to support the Summer Reading Challenge in 2022 to ensure that children have access to reading materials over the summer holidays; and, in particular, how they will support children in areas where reading is uncommon.

Photo of Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

The Government recognises the vital part reading and public libraries play in the lives of so many people, and the pleasure they bring to people of all ages. The Reading Agency, with funding from the Government via Arts Council England, will deliver the Summer Reading Challenge, in 2022, in partnership with public libraries. The theme this year celebrates science and innovation, as well as the key role of the imagination in both reading and the sciences.

Almost all library authorities in the United Kingdom and the Crown Dependencies will take part in the Summer Reading Challenge in 2022. This includes 27 authorities who will adopt an extended cross-authority approach to delivering the Summer Reading Challenge this year (an increase from 11 in the first year). This involves local authorities working with strategic partners in education, children’s services, and public health to widen reach and engagement for children living in areas of disadvantage through schools, early years provision, and other community settings.

The Reading Agency anticipates the Challenge in 2022 has the potential to reach one million children. This will include those in urban locations, particularly in the Midlands and North of England, large counties with fairly large rural communities, as well as coastal communities and the first pilot authorities in Scotland.

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