Reading Challenges

Girl and mum reading

Hobsons Bay Libraries offers a number of literacy initiatives to help children and youth gain confidence in their ability to read and fall in love with books.

BIG Summer Read

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A Victorian State Wide Reading Program

1 December 2022 – 31 January 2023

The summer school holidays are a time for kids to enjoy a break away from school and indulge in a less structured, relaxed lifestyle with family and friends. While this is vitally important to their overall development and mental wellbeing, research has shown that kids can actually loose some of the literacy skills they gained during the year and start the next year at a disadvantage. It is called the Summer Slide and we see it all around the world. The answer to slowing this ‘slide’ is simple, and it does not involve more school work over summer!

Kids just need to keep reading, and be read to. Summer is the perfect time for children to indulge in books and stories and read for pleasure. This is where we come in!

The BIG Summer Read has been developed by Public Libraries Victoria in a joint effort to raise awareness of the benefits of reading over summer and to ensure Victorian children have access to resources proven to slow the slide. Together we are aiming to engage 10,000 children in the program! Will you join in?

What is it?

Kids are encouraged to keep reading over the summer holidays with an incentivised program that uses Beanstack, a mobile app that rewards you for reading. When reading milestones are reached, kids earn ‘badges’ for their Beanstack profile and increase their chances of winning a prize! Participants need to log a minimum of 10 books and collect 5 activity badges to complete the challenge. All badges will be released at the start of the program and can be completed at any time.

When does it start?

The program will open for pre-registration on Monday 7 November 2022 and starts Thursday 1 December 2022. Pre-registration is where kids can create their account on Beanstack and sign up to the program. It ends on Tuesday January 2023.

What is the intended age range for the BIG Summer Read?

All children and young adults, aged 0 to 18.

What are the prizes?

There will be a grand prize bumper pack, worth over $300. It includes:

  1. Science works family entry including planetarium and lightning room! Worth over $60.00
  2. Readings cinema $50.00 gift card, treat the gang to movie magic!
  3. A is for Art children’s workshop of your choice! Value of $85.00 Explore your creative potential.
  4. Jenjo games $40 gift card – lots of summertime fun with these super-sized games.
  5. Stimulate your senses at the Sensory Oasis for kids - $20.00 gift voucher – toys, games, books and more!
  6. Clip ‘n Climb Williamstown - entry for you and a friend - 2 climbs plus 2 ‘leap of faith’ pass to test your limits! – value of $50
  7. Snowball sweet store voucher - $30.00
  8. Science play for kids voucher for $25.00 - unlock a world of experimentation and creativity!


Statewide prizes

Three winners will be drawn randomly from those participants who completed the challenge on Beanstack.

  • 0 to 8 years: $250 Readings gift voucher
  • 9 to12 years: $250 Readings gift voucher
  • 13 to 18 years: $500 Readings gift voucher

Winners and Hobsons Bay Libraries will be notified via email. Terms and Conditions can be found at

Will there be a paper-based alternative for those unable to use technology?

Yes – you can pick up a simple paper version at a library branch and return when completed to be included in the prize draw.

What safeguards are in place to protect users’ privacy?

Beanstack’s servers are US-based, and to safeguard users’ privacy we are asking for the bare minimum of personal information: email, name (an alias is acceptable), age & library service.

Read Beanstack’s privacy policy to learn more about how they handle user’s personal information and what they use/don’t use it for.


Terms and Conditions:

Library members participating in the BIG Summer Read must be under the age of 18, reside in Victoria and must be able to collect their prize from a Hobsons Bay Libraries branch.

Prizes will not be awarded to anyone who does not meet the eligibility criteria. 

For a how-to guide on joining up and using Beanstack, watch this video

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Early Readers



Hobsons Bay Libraries’ Junior Easy Readers are short books designed for young people who are learning to read or have learning disabilities. They introduce letter sounds (phonics), sentence construction, story context, and vocabulary. Utilise this handy stop-light system to support your child in learning how to read, so they continue to love reading.

Short sentences, familiar words, and simple concepts for children eager to read on their own. This level is just right for readers who are beginning to sound out words and sentences.

Books on this level are written with simple sentences using familiar words.




Engaging stories, longer sentences, and language play for developing readers who still need some help. Level 2 is for readers who are increasingly confident but still need some help. Books at this level include more complex storylines, longer sentences, and more challenging words.




Complex plots, challenging vocabulary, and high-interest topics for the independent reader.

Level 3 includes many fun subjects kids love to read about on their own. Level 3 books are written for independent readers. They include challenging words and more complex themes and stories.


Browse the Junior Easy Reader collection in the children's area of any Hobsons Bay Libraries branch, or online using the library catalogue.

Grow Your Reader

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In 2020, Hobsons Bay Libraries was pleased to launch Grow Your Reader, an early literacy initiative to assist families to build a love of books and reading for their children from birth to three years. Sharing stories, conversation and songs with young children from birth is proven to set them up for future success – it’s also fun and creates strong, healthy bonds. This project will have numerous avenues to help support the early literacy development of the Hobsons Bay community.

Grow your reader will:

  • Provide families with a New Baby Book Bag for every new birth in Hobsons Bay this year. Book Bags contain a free high quality board book, a helpful guide to build literacy in young children, and information about library membership and local early literacy programs;
  • Give children at their two-and-year year old Maternal and Child Health check-up their very own Library Book Bag. These bags contain a free book with accompanying learning activities, along with information for carers with key messages at this stage of their child’s language development.
  • Offer a series of parenting support programs throughout the year, including monthly pre-natal information sessions and regular literacy information sessions. Our goal is to help and support parents in their role as their child’s first teacher.

Victorian Premier's Reading Challenge


The Premier invites students from Prep to Year 10 to participate in the annual Premiers’ Reading Challenge.

The challenge hopes to inspire students to discover the magical power of books. It is an ideal opportunity for parents and families to share in these discoveries too.

Search for Victorian Premiers' Reading Challenge books by age category through our catalogue.

For more information about the Victorian Premiers’ Reading Challenge visit