Science theme for Fife youngsters in summer reading challenge

All systems are go for a science-themed summer of fun aimed at encouraging children to get the most of books.

OnFife Libraries has launched its summer reading challenge aimed at inspiring youngsters aged four to 11 year olds to use their inventiveness and imagination.

The annual challenge, which began on Saturday, is coordinated by the Reading Agency – a national charity that aims to inspire more people to get into books.

This year’s Gadgeteers theme is a celebration of all things STEM – science, technology, engineering and maths – with a focus on creative thinking and teamwork.

The summer reading challenge started at the weekend

The programme encourages young people to discover science and innovation in the world around them – in areas as diverse as food, fashion, music and sport.

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The UK-wide initiative encourages children to enjoy the benefits of reading for pleasure over the summer months and helps to prevent a dip in reading over school holidays.

Libraries run by OnFife have consistently achieved some of Scotland’s top participation figures for the Challenge.

Kirkcaldy Galleries

Taking part for the first time this year will be children from Fife Council’s holiday clubs, including Fair Isle in Kirkcaldy.

Libraries staff hope as many as 2,500 children will take up the Reading Challenge. They can do so by popping in to one of OnFife’s 32 libraries, or by catching the mobile libraries.

Children can pick up a collector’s folder from staff, set their own reading goals and then work their way through six books, e-books or audio books that catch their eye.

Participants collect special stickers and other rewards along the way – all for free. Everyone who completes their personal challenge will receive a certificate and goodie bag.

Rewards include books, bookmarks, pencils, games and toys. Three local visitor attractions – Cluny Activities, Fife Zoo and the Scottish Deer Centre – have donated free days out for the prize draw.

Libraries staff will be running a series of free events with a team from the teacher training organisation SSERC and their STEM Ambassador programme. These events will include workshops on coding, construction and chemistry.

Some libraries will host STEM-themed craft sessions, which have a £3.50 admission fee.

Children can also join in the fun online through the Summer Reading Challenge website.

Once online, they can access lots of fun facts and activities, book recommendations and join six fictional Gadgeteers – characters created by children’s writer and illustrator Julian Beresford.

Sabrina Maguire, OnFife Libraries’ service development officer for young people, said: "Reading for pleasure is one of the most enriching things a child can do. We have lots of fun events and great rewards lined up. It promises to be a winning celebration of all things science.”

Fife Council’s Childcare Services Team Manager Gary Peattie, says: "We are looking forward to working with OnFife Libraries to bring the Summer Reading Challenge, and its many benefits, to the children in our holiday clubs.

“Literacy and developing a love of reading are as important as ever and we are very happy to be involved with such a valuable project."

Alastair MacGregor, chief executive at SSERC said: “The STEM ambassador programme provides children with the opportunity to meet people from a wide range of different backgrounds and careers.”