Media response - Mayor's Summer Reading Challenge

Published on 14 March 2023

Response to the Fleurieu Sun.

Comments attributed to Mayor Moira Were

What does the summer reading challenge involve?
The challenge encourages school-age children to read during the summer break. We use an online program called Beanstack where participants can record the books they’ve read. To complete the most recent challenge, children needed to read seven books, including a First Nations and climate change book. Each year, we build into the program other challenges that children can complete but are not essential to completing the challenge. For example, most recently children could write reviews or take part in an amazing race where we asked children to visit a minimum of three libraries.

How was the reading challenge received by school-aged people?
The feedback we received was very positive. Families particularly liked the amazing race. We had 48 children that visited all six Onkaparinga libraries, and 85 children that visited three or more. There was a total of 887 books read during the challenge.

Are there any reading programs in-place for kids during the middle stages of the year?
We regularly have reading challenges available for all ages through our Beanstack app/website. Currently for children we have a Minecraft Challenge, 1001 Books Before School, and 2002 Books Before School. We’re always looking at opportunities for new challenges. Once a child/adult is registered on Beanstack, any reading challenges available for their age group will show up on their home screen.

93 First Nation and 87 Climate Change books were read, is there a push to increase this number next year?
As a library service, we’re always encouraging children to read more books, including books from a diverse range of topics and authors. Planning hasn’t begun for next summer yet, so we can’t say if we will keep this focus or change it for the next challenge.

What is the benefit of young people reading educational books focusing on topics like climate change and First Nations people?
Reading literacy is an important factor for our community to thrive, by encouraging children to read books on different subjects. We’re giving them the opportunity to develop their critical thinking skills and improve their knowledge of society and environment. By reading non-fiction titles, children develop their analytical skills and can further develop their empathetic skills.

217 people signed up and 82 completed the challenge, what is the target for next year?
Onkaparinga Libraries are always aiming for a higher sign-up rate to the Summer Reading Challenge. Last year the Mayor challenged all children to bring a friend so that we could double the numbers.