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Source: Hutt City Council

Hutt City Libraries’ popular summer reading challenge for tamariki begins on 1 December!
The Big Read has been running during the summer holidays for over 10 years. Last year over 1,000 participants read over 14,000 books and completed over 3,000 activities.
Lower Hutt Mayor Campbell Barry says that the challenge encourages school-aged tamariki to continue reading over the summer holidays to combat the “summer slide”.
“We know that during the summer months a slip in literacy levels can occur over the long break. As a Council, it’s important that we promote our libraries to help improve literacy rates in Lower Hutt, and supporting the Big Read is a fun and accessible way we can do that,” says Campbell Barry.
“In a recent international study, Kiwi children’s reading levels fell below all other English-speaking countries. We need them to love reading again, especially since reading affects all aspect of life” explains Lillian Pak, Programmes, Outreach and Partnerships Manager for Hutt City Council.
Every time tamariki finish a level they get an entry into the prize draw. The more they read and play, the more chances they have to win. This year’s prizes include experiences and books from Cupcake Sweeties, Gecko Press, HangDog, Queensgate Shopping Centre, Schrödinger’s Books, Staglands, Zealandia, with more to come!
“The Big Read and the Little Read are the highlight of my year” says Alexia Herrera, Children and Teens Librarian at the Wainuiomata Community Hub, “I love being able to connect with the tamariki in my community about what they’ve read and all the fun things they get to do!”
“Last year we had a family come in weekly to show us photos of all the activities they did for The Big Read. They made a pillow fort, climbed trees, made a massive sandcastle, and the younger boy even helped to build a bike!”
“We get tamariki asking about The Big Read from at least the middle of the year” continued Alexia, “they love telling us all about the books they’re reading.”
Pēpi and tamariki under 5 haven’t been forgotten; Libraries have designed The Little Read, which encourages whānau to have fun doing activities with their child.
This year there has been a focus on incorporating more Te Reo Māori into the programme, with new levels – Kākano (Seed), and Pihinga (Seedling), Māhuri (Sapling), and Kōhure (Tree) – representing children’s growth through their engagement with literacy.
Tamariki can pick up a booklet from their local Hutt City library or hub, download a digital copy, even grab a booklet from a local café or community centre. They fill out the booklet with the pūrākau (stories) they read or listen to, and the tākaro (play) they have done, then visit a library or hub anytime over summer to enter the prize draw.
The Big Read and The Little Read run from 1 December 2021 to 31 January 2022, with the prize draw in early February. For more information visit