Summer Reading Challenge

We’re pleased to see that the Doncaster Star has run a story on the Summer Reading Challenge, which is run through the library service:

“Libraries across Doncaster are turning to the circus for inspiration in a drive to get the borough’s youngsters reading during the summer holidays.

The council’s libraries service is offering children across the borough what it describes as a summertime circus spectacle that will keep them reading throughout the holidays.”

The article goes on to mention some of the poor educational performance in Doncaster:

“This month, the director of children’s services pledged more support for schools after Doncaster’s performance in English fell in primary school league tables.

The drop means youngsters in Doncaster are slightly behind the national average when it comes to reading.

But council bosses are keen to get more children hooked on books and have set up a scheme to try to encourage more children to get their noses into a good page-turner.”

We can’t help but get the feeling that these are empty words – if the council really wanted to get children (and adults) reading, it wouldn’t be closing over half its libraries, making the library service inaccessible to thousands of children, who will no longer be able to walk to their local branch. If the council really wanted to support schools, it wouldn’t have  drastically cut the Schools Library Service, made the Children’s Librarian redundant and ceased outreach work, with library staff visiting schools and schools able to visit libraries on a regular basis.

Councillor Ransome has such supportive words to say about the Summer Reading Challenge: “We have already had a fantastic reaction to this year’s Summer Reading Challenge…All of these activities are completely free, which is good news for parents.” It’s such a shame that her vote to cut the library service so dramatically will now mean that so many Doncaster children, most of whom live in the most deprived areas of the borough with the poorest levels of educational attainment and literacy, will be denied the opportunity to get involved with such positive and exciting schemes in the future.

Cllr Ransome with one of the lucky children who might still be able to take part in the Summer Reading Challenge next year. (Image from The Star)


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