This summer, more than 13,000 Auckland children flocked to join Kia Māia te Whai Dare to Explore, Auckland Council Libraries’ summer reading programme, the highest number of participants since it started in 2011.
Kia Māia te Whai Dare to Explore has not only grown in popularity but is also proving itself a valuable free service and a fun way for children to maintain and grow their reading ability over summer.
Six-year-old Blockhouse Bay resident, Losi Kimmons, is an avid participant of the reading programme. She first took part in Kia Māia te Whai Dare to Explore last summer and her father, Justin Kimmons, says Losi’s reading ability had jumped up four levels when she returned to school.
These summer holidays, Losi has been reading every day and finished 25 books over the course of the programme. It’s the thrill of excitement as each story unfolds that she really loves about reading, and says “(it) gives me an excitement in my heart because the words make a story that might be scary, but it turns out to be really cool and exciting.”
Similarly, Lincoln Heights School collected data from over half of the children who participated in the programme at their school library over the school holidays last summer and found that 77.4 per cent improved their reading levels.
Darryl Soljan, Head of Community Libraries North and West, is proud to see the programme grow in popularity and help to prevent the “summer reading slump”.
“Many children backslide in their reading levels over the school holidays, often starting the new school year at a lower level than when they left the year before.
"We designed Kia Māia te Whai Dare to Explore as a fun, interactive and free way of addressing this issue and we’re delighted to see it’s delivering results,” he says.
Kia Māia te Whai Dare to Explore has now finished for summer 2019/20. Keep an eye out on the Auckland Libraries Facebook page for announcements later this year about next summer’s reading programme.