Brought to books

The Summer Reading Challenge is a free annual event that aims to encourage children to read more. Eileen Leahy reveals how you can still get involved in it and talks to the Amelia’s library team about how they are supporting the scheme…


If you’re frustrated by your children being on their phones all the time over the summer holidays then the Borough’s local libraries might just have the perfect solution to all that endless scrolling.

The Summer Reading Challenge is a nationwide initiative that’s supported by Tunbridge Wells Library, as well as other local satellite ones in the local area, in order to stimulate and help children get into reading more.

Since the year 2000 libraries all over the country have taken part in the Summer Reading Challenge, which promotes reading for pleasure with a different theme each year for children aged 4 to 11 (and beyond) to get involved in.

For 2023 it’s ‘Ready, Set, Read!’ – a celebration of reading, sport, games and play. Previous themes over the past two decades have included Wild World Heroes (promoting the environment), The Big Friendly Read (celebrating Roald Dahl) and Story Lab (supporting science).

This year’s challenge has been developed in collaboration with the Youth Sport Trust, to mark the importance of play and participation, encouraging children to engage in games and sports in any way that best suits them.

The aim is to show how reading can be active and engaging, and – far from being just an isolated activity – how it can also involve teamwork and community.

Head Librarian at The Amelia is Stephen Wickens and he and his team are encouraging local children to get involved with this year’s Summer Reading Challenge.

“We’re calling all bookworms and adventure seekers! Come and immerse yourself in captivating tales by embarking on a literary journey like no other,” an Amelia spokesperson tells the Times.

“Dive into a treasure trove of books, all waiting to be explored. Whether you’re a fan of mystery, fantasy, or heart-warming stories, our diverse collection will satisfy every craving for great literature.”

The Summer Reading Challenge runs in Kent until Saturday September 9 so there is still plenty of time to get involved.

The challenge is to read six books, eBooks, eAudio or eMagazines. All children doing the challenge in person will receive a certificate and a medal once they’ve completed their challenge.

“You can join the challenge in your local library or online,” adds the spokesperson. “Set yourself a reading goal and log your books. But please keep in mind, the in-person and online challenges are totally separate. Physical incentives like medals and certificates are only available via the library, for those taking part in the in-person challenge.”

“Our staff at the Amelia Scott will be only too willing to help any children sign up. We will even help you pick your books! And we’ll have lots of related activities going on so make sure you keep an eye
on our socials.”



  • The library will get you signed up and will give you a special collector folder
  • Your child will set a personal reading goal (we recommend six books)
  • Your child can borrow and read books, e-Books and audiobooks of their choice. They can read anything they like: fiction, fact books, poetry, joke books, picture books and graphic novels all count towards completing the challenge!
  • Complementary creative activities will be taking place across the summer, so please see Discovery Days on The Amelia What’s On
  • Your child will receive a certificate and medal for taking part, or for reaching their challenge goal. Sign up online here:, or pop in to sign up in person and get ready to experience the magic of reading!

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