Thousands of kids have signed up for a summer reading programme aimed at keeping children learning over the six weeks of summer break.

Dare to Explore, Auckland Libraries' annual summer reading programme, kicks off on Monday.

The programme encourages children to keep their reading levels up over summer so they arrive back at school with the same or better levels of reading knowledge.

Reading at home is encouraged through a task-oriented activity book, and libraries also host a range of activities over the break to keep children engaged.


Last year a record 12,000 children took part, and libraries spokesman Ali Ikram said this year's enrolments were on track to beat those numbers.

About 2000 children have enrolled already, which was twice as many as this time last December.

Seven-year-old Genesis Howe, a Year 2 pupil at Otara's Dawson Primary, reckons she can read as many as four books a day, but hesitates at committing to reading 168 books over the 42-day programme.

Genesis and her brother Kyridyn, 6, received their first library cards today as part of signing up for Dare to Explore.

It was good to read, Genesis said, because reading made you smart.

"I want to try and colour all of these ones in," she said, pointing to the squares on Dare to Explore's goal chart.

Children tick off squares as they complete reading milestones, which lead them up a visual path to the three "kete of knowledge" before they make their way back down the page to Earth.

Unlike her peers, who said they most loved to read about spies and thrilling adventures, Genesis likes to read books about cleaning up the house, because she thinks it's helpful to learn.


Her classmate Carlynne Taitua, 7, has been a card-carrying library-goer for about a year and loves to spend her time there.

"You learn different sorts of words and it makes you smart," Carlynne said of reading.

The best word she's learned so far is "spectacular", which means you're being perfect, she said.

"Something that's spectacular to me is reading."

Rachel Nixon, a children's librarian at Tupu Youth Library, was a huge supporter of Dare to Explore.

The library issued cards to as many as 100 pupils from Dawson Primary alone last year, and about 1500 children got their first library card as part of the programme.


"We do see an influx of library cards [at this time of year]," she said.

"The teachers are supportive, because they don't want the kids coming back at a lower level."

Nixon spends a lot of time at Tupu Youth Library reading with children, challenging them to increase their knowledge for sounding out words as well as reading comprehension.

Seeing children improve over time was a hugely satisfying part of her job, she said.

Incentives like pizza and table tennis helped keep children motivated.

"At the library we have some bribes," Nixon said.


"For example if they want a turn on the ping-pong table they have to do some reading."

To enrol your child in Dare to Explore online, follow this link.