Keep kids reading all summer long with free reading challenge

Young book lovers in Leeds are being challenged to make some fascinating scientific discoveries at their local library this summer.

Leeds Libraries’ free Summer Reading Challenge is calling on youngsters to find out more about the world around them by reading six or more from a collection of science-themed story books and factual books, over the summer break.

This year’s Summer Reading Challenge launches on Saturday (9 July 2022) with a packed day of free events for children and families at Leeds Central Library, including:

  • Sign up children aged four to 11 for this year’s Challenge and get a free activity pack with stickers and games. Find out more at
  • Jump aboard for a fun, free and family-friendly storytelling performance by the Guiseley-based Codswallop theatre troupe on either Sam or Nelly, Leeds Libraries’ colourful Story Buses. Nelly will be parked in Victoria Gardens in front of Leeds City Art Gallery from 11am to 12.30pm, and then Sam will be at the East Ardsley Gala at the Recreation Ground from 1pm
  • Meet children’s writer Anna James, the author of the Pages & Co Anna will be talking about and signing new book Hetty and the Battle for the Books and sharing stories about being a writer. From 12pm at Central Library. Book free tickets at

Children can also sign up for the Summer Reading Challenge at any local library in Leeds from Saturday, or online at

By taking part in the challenge, children will be guided by the Gadgeteers: six science-mad characters who will help young readers to discover more about the technology and innovation behind the world around them. The website also includes games, activities and a reading club. Every child that completes the challenge will be awarded a certificate and a gold medal.

Children don’t have to be library members already but Sign Up Saturday on 9 July will be a fantastic opportunity for parents to register their families for all the benefits of free library membership. All children who join will receive a new members’ pack including stickers and a new-look library card with a colourful design by illustrator Nick Sharratt.

Andrea Ellison, Leeds City Council’s Chief Librarian, said:

“Being a member of the library can open up a whole exciting world of books for children and can inspire a lifetime of reading and learning. As well as borrowing books to read, we also have a full programme of storytelling events for younger children, including Ready Steady Readers, and our Story Buses Nelly and Sam are always out and about across the city, parking up for a story time session. And all this is absolutely free.”

Councillor Mary Harland, Leeds City Council’s executive member for communities, said:

“Our libraries are a fantastic free resource for children who already love reading, and for those who are starting to discover the world of books. The Summer Reading Challenge is a great way to connect children with the joy of reading, and I’m delighted that Leeds Libraries is encouraging even more families than ever to get involved with this year’s science-themed events and activities.”

Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s executive member for economy, culture and education, said:

“Reading plays a fundamental role in developing children’s language and educational attainment skills. We’re committed to making sure every child across Leeds has access to reading and the Summer Reading Challenge is an excellent opportunity to encourage children and their families to enjoy the benefits of reading and build their confidence and reading abilities.”

Each year the Summer Reading Challenge motivates more than 700,000 children to keep reading during the school holidays, to build their skills and confidence. The Challenge, presented by The Reading Agency, is delivered in partnership with public libraries and funded by Arts Council England.


This post is based on a press release issued by Leeds City Council