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English teacher interested in language and culture, and also in fiction using magic, myth, folklore and the supernatural. Now teaching part-time in a Leicester Upper School (ages 14-19) and also writing for children, teens and teachers.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Story Lab: Summer Reading Challenge

The Story Lab site
My youngest and I went to the local library yesterday to sign up for this summer's reading challenge: the Story Lab. She's been excited for these for the last few years, not least because a nice lady (from the libraries service perhaps?) visits her school to tell the kids all about it. I think, though, that this is the first year she's been able to also join in online. There's a moderated site where kids can talk about books with others, as well as learn more about the Story Lab characters and their quests. She knows that I talk about books online all the time (here, Goodreads, Twitter...), so she feels like she's able to do the same as me - which she's still young enough to see as a Good Thing, bless her. She's also majorly excited about the writing competition to finish a story started by one of the participating authors. You could win a laptop, you know!

The challenge runs through the summer and asks kids to read six books - of any length or type - and record their titles on the special card provided. They are expected to visit the library three times over the period. On the first visit, they get a cardboard lab to assemble at home and some scratch 'n' sniff stickers. Next time, there'll be a wristband and on the final visit, they get a medal and certificate. There's a whole storyline going on around the cute characters you see above, as they search for special items of bronze, silver and gold (do you detect an additional timely theme...?).

It's a great way to kickstart (or revive) a library habit, and libraries are fab for taking a risk on new authors or genres. And visiting the local library feels like a political act these days (assuming of course you still have one ...)

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