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The Winter Reading Challenge

You might be at home, but you can still go on an adventure

That’s the message from Hampshire County Council’s Library Service which is encouraging children to sign up for this year’s Winter Reading Challenge and read any four books, with an emphasis on sharing stories with others.

Councillor Edward Heron, Executive Member for Recreation, Heritage, Countryside and Rural Affairs, said: “This year, more than ever before, I feel that Hampshire’s children will benefit a great deal from participating in the Winter Reading Challenge. Books are a marvellous way to escape the here and now, which is even more important when we can’t physically visit new places. It is within these stories that children can go on adventures in new worlds and meet lots of colourful characters. A bit of escapism can offer welcome respite after months of social distancing and restrictions.”

Over the school holidays children can experience a ‘dip’ in reading skills and learning, and the disruption to education caused by Covid-19 means that supporting children’s literacy is more important than ever. 

Councillor Heron continued: “Reading for pleasure is proven to boost literacy skills in children and we are eager to support this, especially in light of the ongoing disruption to our schools due to the coronavirus pandemic. There is nothing quite like finding a cosy spot to curl up with a good story on a cold winter’s day, whether it’s alone or together with family.

“We have a wide variety of resources waiting to be discovered at our libraries during winter and throughout the rest of the year. The thing to remember about the challenge is that all books count towards it. This means that children can choose their four titles from various formats including eBooks, audiobooks, and picture books.” 

The Winter Reading Challenge is aimed at children aged 4-11 years, but all ages can enjoy reading any four books of their choice between 11 January and 27 February. Participants can discover more about the Winter Reading Challenge and sign-up online at, which features a host of activities, plus rewards and incentives for reading and reviewing books.  

With the current national lockdown in place to help stop the spread of Coronavirus, readers of all ages are encouraged to use the Hampshire Library Service’s digital library as far as possible. All Hampshire Libraries are closed for browsing, and fines are frozen. Library customers who are unable to access Hampshire Libraries’ digital library can borrow and reserve physical items by using the Ready Reads service or reserving online.  You can read more of that here

Winter Reading Challenge participants will be able to track their progress using the Winter Reading Challenge Reading Record and celebrate their completed books with official Winter Reading Challenge Completion Certificates. These will be available in digital format for participants who sign-up online, and in hard copy format for collection when customers next visit their local library to pick up their Ready Reads or reserved items.