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Every Primary School pupil in Cornwall gets an electronic library card to take part in the Summer Reading Challenge

In what is thought to be a first for UK library services, every Primary School child in Cornwall is being issued with an electronic library card.

Cabinet Member for the Cornwall Library Service, Edwina Hannaford, said: “This will give them access to a junior version of ‘Borrowbox’ - Cornwall Libraries’ e-book and e-audiobook platform. It is the ideal way for young minds to keep reading while libraries and bookshops are closed, but it also allows them to take part in the country’s favourite junior literature festival.”

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The Summer Reading Challenge, presented by The Reading Agency, is delivered in partnership with public libraries and funded by Arts Council England. It encourages children aged 4 to 11 to enjoy the benefits of reading for pleasure over the summer holidays, providing lots of fun, as well as curing what can be a summer reading ‘dip’.

And Cornwall Library and Information Service, although all their libraries are currently closed due to the health pandemic, is giving free access to Junior Borrowbox and its thousands of children’s books. Children can read or listen to famous titles from The Gruffalo and Elmer, to Harry Potter and books by David Walliams.

Each year this popular Challenge motivates over 700,000 children across the country to keep reading to build their skills and confidence.This year the Summer Reading Challenge’s Silly Squad are celebrating funny books, happiness and laughter – no bad thing after this strange Spring for us all.

Children taking part in the Challenge will join the Silly Squad, an adventurous pack of animals. Once in the gang, they can get rewards, play games, and earn stickers. It supports parents and carers with children already at home, offers schools exciting ways to animate remote learning, and provides great content for those recently back in the classroom.

The 2020 Challenge features bespoke artwork from award-winning children’s author and illustrator Laura Ellen Anderson (Amelia Fang; Evil Emperor Penguin; I Don’t Want Curly Hair).

With continuing Covid 19 restrictions there won’t be any physical library visits, certainly at the beginning of the challenge, and no library visits to school assemblies.

The Summer Reading Challenge runs from now until mid-September.

The card can be used both in school, or at home (on a digital device). Children not in school will be sent instructions by their teachers.