ROLL up, roll up, the spectacular annual Summer Reading Challenge is once more under way in Northumberland.
Last year, 3,615 children in the county took part in the free challenge, which aims to foster a love of reading, help them gain confidence and develop new skills.
This summer the challenge is themed around Circus Stars and children signing up will receive a colourful starter pack to help keep track of their reading.
They will be encouraged to read at least six books during the school holidays, collecting incentives and rewards along the way, and a certificate will be presented in a special ceremony at the start of the new school term.
Circus-themed events will run in libraries across Northumberland throughout the summer.
Northumberland County Council Executive Member for Customer Services and Culture Neil Bradbury said: “Reading is a vital life skill, yet it is a skill that can often take second place to the excitement of computers, television and electronic games.
“It is one of our aims through the challenge to prove that books can be exciting too and introduce children to one of the best free resources for their minds that they have on their doorsteps — the local library.”
Youngsters aged between four and 11 years old can sign up to the challenge at their nearest library and all materials are free.
There is also an interactive website for them to find out more about authors and illustrators, talk about their favourite books and share reading ideas.
And there is the chance to claim a Nintendo Wii console and game in a prize draw.
A free half-day of circus skills workshops will be awarded to the school with the highest percentage of children completing the challenge.
Nationally, the initiative is run by The Reading Agency and is now in its 13th year.
For more information visit www.circus-stars.org.uk