Reading Sparks ignites STEM interest in children and young people through the power of reading. The project is delivered by The Reading Agency in partnership with public libraries with funding from Arts Council England and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).
Who is it for?
Reading Sparks harnesses the creative power of reading to engage families with STEM activities (science, technology, engineering and maths) and build science confidence in communities living in deprived parts of England.
As part of the Reading Sparks pilot, library partners gave reading and STEM book and activity boxes to families particularly disadvantaged by the pandemic. Using supporting resources, they worked with young people in different settings, for example local youth organisations, schools and social care partners to develop positive, confidence-building reading and STEM activities for young people aged 14-18. Working with library staff and youth workers, participants designed new digital and in-person reading and science activities for families with children aged 4-11.
Reading Sparks was developed closely with publishers and specialist science organisations. The programme and reading and STEM book and activity boxes have been jointly designed with science education experts at NUSTEM at the University of Northumbria.
Impact and reach
Our evaluation shows that Reading Sparks builds confidence and engagement with STEM among children, young people and families and demonstrates the important role that creativity and reading play in sparking engagement with a wide range of subjects and topics.
Following the successful pilot (and subsequent national roll-out) in 2021-2022, The Reading Agency is now developing its future Reading Sparks engagement activity for use by library services and other stakeholders.
If you have a Reading Sparks subscription you can access supporting resources here.
If you have any questions about Reading Sparks or how your library service can get involved, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org