A CHALLENGE has launched today to get more children to read this summer.

Oxfordshire County Council's libraries are calling for youngsters to sign up to read any six books, between now and September 14, as part of its Space Chase reading challenge.

The free scheme invites four-11 year-olds to borrow and read books from their local libraries, tracking them down from mischievous 'aliens.'

They will receive special stickers and a colourful collector's folder, and will receive a medal and certificate upon completion of the mission.

Lorraine Lindsay-Gale, the council's cabinet member for education, said: "Last summer’s reading challenge saw more than 8,400 children taking part countywide, and we are hoping this year that even more children and families will get involved.

"The summer break is a great opportunity for children to discover the joy of reading and find out what their local library has to offer."

Sue Wilkinson, chief executive of The Reading Agency, said: "We know from our research that families and children love taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge, and we are proud to have been running the challenge for 20 years this year.

"The space theme has been chosen to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing.

"We hope this will inspire all children to use their local library and to read lots of great books throughout the summer and beyond."

There is also a spin-off challenge for pre-school children.

Visit oxfordshire.gov.uk/spacechase for more information.