The Saskatchewan Library Association and the Saskatchewan Roughrider Foundation are kicking off a new challenge this week to encourage kids to keep reading throughout the summer.

Called the Summer Rider Reading Challenge, the program aims to inspire children of all ages to have fun reading during their time away from school and to build a community of Rider Readers.

“I think both of the organizations have a passion for community as well as an interest in literacy and learning,” said Michele Fedyk, a board member with the Saskatchewan Library Association. “The two organizations are just a winning team to combat illiteracy and encourage children and everyone to read over the summer.”

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Fedyk said research shows that reading levels drop during the summer and initiatives such as the Summer Rider Reading Challenge can help prevent children from experiencing the “summer slide.”

“Activities such as a reading challenge or any kind of reading games encourages children to read over the summer, and it just helps keep that reading level up so that they’re ready for the new school year in the fall,” she said.

Participants have a chance at weekly prizes for the top reader, which include tickets to a Saskatchewan Roughrider home game, merchandise, and gift cards. The grand prize of a Rider Reader Party hosted by Gainer the Gopher will go to the library branch that reads the most collective minutes.

According to a release, the collective minutes read by participants in Saskatchewan will be announced on a weekly basis on the Saskatchewan Roughrider website and social media platforms. The grand total of minutes read will be announced at a fall Riders home game on the Maxxtron.

“The Saskatchewan Roughrider Foundation supports three main community pillars: amateur sport, health, and education,” Marnie Forsberg, manager of community programs for the Saskatchewan Roughrider Foundation, said in a release. “Reading success is crucial to a solid education and success in life both on and off the field.”

The challenge will start tomorrow and end on Aug. 29.