Challenge: Where Is The Most Unusual Place You Can Read?

Edit: If you are looking for ideas for Reading In Unusual Places Challenges click here to check out this newer post.
AD Do you normally read with your children on the sofa? Or maybe you read them a bedtime story each night? These are both wonderful places to read, but have you ever thought about reading somewhere more unusual? As part of the Essex Year of Reading there is a challenge to Read in Unusual Places this summer.

3 children standing next to a wooden carving of the mouse from the gruffalo reading the gruffalo book by Julia Donaldson

How to Take Part In The Reading In Unusual Places Challenge 

If you are an Essex resident you are challenged to share a picture of yourself, a family member or friend (with permission) reading in unusual, weird or wonderful places across the county this summer. Post the picture on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #ReadingInUnusualPlaces or tag @EssexCountyCouncil on Facebook by Friday 2nd September to join in. The most interesting photos will be featured on Essex County Council’s social media channels.

Why Get Involved?

The Essex Year of Reading is a campaign created by the Essex Education Task Force to encourage children and young people to develop a life long love of reading and to support Essex children to read at their age level or beyond.  It can be particularly hard to encourage children’s reading in the summer holidays without the encouragement of books from school which is why the challenge may really help motivate reluctant readers. Reading in a new location can help a story come to life and inspire an adventure.

If you need something new to read then you can get books out for free at the library. You can also sign up to the Summer reading challenge while you are there where children get rewarded for reading 6 books over the summer. Or download the Essex Year of Reading App which has audio readings, animations, quizzes and texts you can download and read.

The pandemic has impacted many children’s reading resulting in them being behind their expected levels. My middle daughter was particularly affected by losing part of her preschool year and homeschooling in her Reception year.  Luckily my children all love books and this passion has kept my 10 year old reading regardless of whatever else is going on in the world. My 6 year old has just about reached the level where she knows most of her phonic sounds so she can look at a section of text (when in the mood) and work out most of what it is saying, but it can be a struggle to get her to read the words herself rather than being read to.

We try and do some reading every day, but I have to choose my timing and approach carefully. Asking my children to come off their iPads to read to me is never going to work, but challenging them to read in an interesting location is the sort of idea that captures their imagination. Why not give it a try?

Ideas To Help Get Children Excited About Reading

Maybe read The Pigeon Needs A Bath in the bath tub? Winnie The Pooh in the woods? The Secret Garden in the grounds of a stately home like Audley End or Hylands House? Or Horrible Histories Stormin’ Normans at Mountfitchet Castle.

You could bring favourite books to life with one of the brilliant trails we have in Essex. There is The Gruffalo Trail at Thorndon Country Park, the Stickman Trail at Weald Country Park, Wind in The Willows at Hanningfield Reservoir, The Beatrix Potter Trail at Langdon Nature Reserve or Brambly Hedge at Abberton Reservoir.

You could inspire children by getting a guidebook of your local town and discovering some of the local history while walking around and finding the locations talked about. Speak to your local library to find out which books they have available and the best ones to appeal to your child's age group.

Whatever you read and where I hope you enjoy the story.

Disclosure: This post is in partnership with Essex Year of Reading 2022 and Essex County Council.

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