Librarian Kate Fairhurst says this year's holiday reading programme at Stratford Library is designed with Stratford children in mind.

"This year, we have designed the programme ourselves, rather than using one created by other libraries in New Zealand. This means we have been able to identify exactly what our young readers will be interested in, and choose incentives and themes tailored for them."

The programme is called A Universe of Stories, and Kate says the galactic theme is carried through to some of the school holiday activities taking place over the Christmas break as well.

"We have plans for making some great space-themed arts and crafts, and even have an astronauts picnic planned in January."

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The reading programme is open to all primary and intermediate school-aged children, who will be able to earn small incentives along the way as well as chances to win one of three prize packs at the end.

"As children progress through the programme, they will earn entry tickets for the draw. They then decide which prize they want to try to win, and put their tickets into the relevant draw."

As well as being able to choose which prize they want to win, children can also choose what reading challenge they will take on over the holidays.

"Instead of making it one challenge for everyone, we are giving the participants a choice. They can choose to read a set number of books, read for a set number of hours or read for a set number of days."

The range of options means the challenges will be suitable for all children, not just avid readers, says Kate.

"It's not about just reading lots of books, it can be about setting aside time each day to read, or slowly working through a really challenging or interesting book."

Once signed up to the reading programme, children will need to regularly check in with a librarian as they progress through the challenge.

Check-ins can be done by email as well as in person, says Kate.

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"This means if people are going away on holiday they can still take part, or if they live further out it means they don't have to come into town for every check in."

Children can sign up for the programme from this Friday when it officially launches.

Summer Reading Programme - A Universe of Stories Launch: Friday, December 6. 4.30 -5.30pm.
If children can't make the launch, they can sign up from Monday, December 9 at the library.