This summer, thirteen library authorities in the South West worked together to produce a Creepy House inspired dance tour. The aim of the project was to try out a new and innovative approach to enrich children's connection with the Summer Reading Challenge.
The tour was funded by the Arts Council and worked on collaboratively by the Libraries Connected, ASCEL (Association of Senior Children's and Education Librarians) and Pavilion Dance South West. The project was backed by strong regional and national partnerships. Arts Council England's Bridge Organisation, RIO trained library staff to offer Discover and Explore Arts Awards in order to increase children's engagement with the challenge.
Ciara Eastell, Head of Libraries, Culture and Heritage at Devon County Council and President-Elect of Libraries Connected said, "The Creepy House Dance project presented an exciting opportunity for children and families across the South West to experience high quality dance in a library setting. It was a great example of what can be achieved when we work together and with arts partners."
It was a hugely successful project. Sixteen libraries hosted Creepy House dance shows and the response was incredibly positive.
"I really liked it because it made reading more alive," said one of the children after seeing a show.
50% of the children that took part had never seen a dance show before, so the project exposed these children to a new and memorable experience. There are already plans to build on this work and roll it out in 2014 and 2015.
Sarah Hillier, South West ASCEL said, "Last year 76,000 children in the region participated in the Summer Reading Challenge, and by animating the challenge through dance we aimed to engage even more 4-11 year olds in the thrill of reading. Given that 87,793 participated in the Challenge and over 53,000 completed this year we - have been successful!"
Although the Summer Reading Challenge is over for 2013 we're continuing to encourage children to keep reading. A Christmas mini-challenge will run on the Summer Reading Challenge website between 12 December and 6 January. And children are also enjoying reading through Chatterbooks's reading groups taking place in schools and libraries around the country.
Parents can join us on our Facebook page for all the latest Summer Reading Challenge and Christmas mini-challenge news.
If your child has enjoyed taking part in the 2013 Summer Reading Challenge please consider donating to our campaign and help us reach more children in 2014. It only costs £3 for three disadvantaged children to take part in the Challenge for free. Please donate £3 to our campaign by texting READ06 £3 to 70070 or by visiting justgiving.com/SummerReadingChallenge.