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Libraries NI launch Big Summer Read 2019

From Monday 1 July children across Northern Ireland will be sliding into summer reading for this year’s Big Summer Read. 

The Big Summer Read, a free Libraries NI reading initiative, aims to address the ‘Summer Slide’, a decline in children and young people’s reading activity which can happen while schools are closed during July and August. 

Tracy Meharg, Permanent Secretary, Department for Communities, Koulla Yiasouma, NI Commissioner for Children and Young People (NICCY) and Fiona Hepper, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Department of Education joined Libraries NI Chief Executive Jim O’Hagan to both launch and show their support for the Big Summer Read along with pupils from Finaghy Primary School during a visit to Finaghy Library. See photo below.

Launch of the Big Summer Read 2019 - Tracy Meharg, Permanent Secretary, Department for Communities, Koulla Yiasouma, and others

Jim O’Hagan, Chief Executive Libraries NI said; 

“Summer reading is very important to a child’s literacy development and the role it plays in retaining the knowledge and skills learned in the previous school year. Last year over 39, 500 children read in the region of 390,500 books during July and August, and we hope to break that record this year. I would like to encourage parents, grandparents and carers to call into their local library and get the whole family involved!”

Tracy Meharg, Department for Communities Permanent Secretary said; 

“The Big Summer Read is a great way to get children involved both with reading and with their local library while schools are out for the summer.   The research is clear on the value of parents and families getting involved with their children’s education and reading is a great way of doing this as well as being enjoyable for the children.  

“Libraries are a diverse source of information in the local community, and I would encourage as many parents and children as possible to take part in the Big Summer Read and to enjoy all that our public libraries have to offer.” 

Koulla Yiasouma, Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, said: 

“A young person once told me that reading was like a “film in the mind”. Reading can be fun and books open up a different world for children, young people and their families. The summer provides an excellent opportunity to discover all those magical worlds held within the covers of books and behind the doors of local libraries.”

Libraries NI is inviting children aged 15 and under to sign up to the Big Summer Read by calling into any of the public or mobile libraries across Northern Ireland. For more information, details of free activities and how you can sign up, call into a local library or click here to find out more.

Jim O'Hagan, Chief Executive, Libraries NI with children at the launch the Big Summer Read 2019 

Photo: Libraries NI Chief Executive, Jim O'Hagan with pupils from Finaghy Primary School.​​