Upper Hutt Libraries and Hutt City Libraries get behind the Big Read

Published on 08 December 2022

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This summer Upper Hutt City Council is joining Hutt City Council in The Big Read; a long standing, popular summer reading challenge for tamariki. 

The challenge has been running in Lower Hutt for over ten years and gained momentum over the past two years with 1,500 participants having read over 17,000 books and completed 5,000 activities – all in an effort to prevent the summer slide. 

Summer slide is the loss of knowledge and skills during our summer school holidays when our young learners are not at school. Research from New Zealand and overseas has shown that the impact of summer slide is widespread across the curriculum and can affect literacy, numeracy and even self-confidence.  

In one New Zealand study, students in an Auckland school lost 5.8 months of reading progress over the summer holidays. Not reading during the summer school holidays creates a reading lag and teachers in New Zealand schools can spend weeks or even a term to help students catch up to their previous year’s reading levels.

Upper Hutt Mayor, Wayne Guppy, says that the summer reading challenge is a great initiative that the Council is proud to work on alongside Hutt City Council towards achieving a regional outcome. 

“Summer slide in New Zealand is a real issue, and we’re doing this to support our tamariki and rangatahi during the long holiday break.  This collaboration highlights the value of the programmes for tamariki and rangatahi provided by our cities’ libraries.” 

Mayor of Lower Hutt, Campbell Barry says, “This is a fantastic initiative that has proven to be popular among our tamariki over the years.  Through the support of our libraries, it’s a fun and accessible way to encourage reading over the summer break while also helping to improve literacy rates in Lower Hutt.”

The summer reading challenge is tailored to three different age groups. 

The Little Read is for pēpi and tamariki under five and encourages whānau to have fun with their child through completing ten tākaro (play activities). 

The Big Read is for tamariki aged five and above and encourages tamariki to read or listen to pūrākau (stories) and complete tākararo over three levels based on the life cycle of the tree. 

The Even Bigger Read for rangatahi is a new addition this year and takes the form of a ‘zine (a handmade magazine) that challenges them to colour and design their journal, as well as read or listen to five pūrākau and complete five tākaro. 

Every time tamariki or rangatahi complete a level or journal, they get an entry into the prize draw; so the more they read, the more chance they have to win a prize.

To participate, whānau or tamariki can pick up a journal from any Hutt City or Upper Hutt library or download a digital copy. After completing the journal with the pūrākau they read or listened to, and the tākaro they have done, tamariki then visit any of the ten libraries in the Hutt Valley anytime over summer to enter the prize draw.

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Upper Hutt Libraries and Hutt City Libraries collaborate to deliver this year’s summer reading challenge to Hutt Valley 

(L-R: Megan Davey, Hutt City Librarian, Adults and Teens; Jay Shulamith, Upper Hutt Senior Librarian, Children and Teens; Kirstie Stevens, Upper Hutt Librarian, Children and Teens)


The summer reading challenge began on 1 December 2022 and will end on 31 January 2023. The prize draw will be held in February after the school holidays. 

For more information visit upperhuttlibrary.co.nz/Events/Summer-Reading-Challenge or library.huttcity.govt.nz/BigRead