In 2013 we worked in partnership with Arts Council England’s 10 regional Bridge organisations to pilot Arts Award Discover alongside the Summer Reading Challenge in a library setting.
The results were great with a total of 1028 children engaging with Arts Award through the Summer Reading Challenge and 610 gaining the award. We took a look at what happened in Redbridge, where they piloted the project in their libraries.
Arts Award in Redbridge
Redbridge, who were paired up with A New Direction, worked with children aged between seven and twelve who were already taking part in the challenge. Seventy five children signed up and fifty five completed the award over the summer holiday period.
Redbridge based their activities on the activity booklet called The House and the Mouse, illustrated by Chris Riddell. Children were also encouraged to look at art in their local community for example they discussed a historical monument in the high street and a library with an iconic architectural style.
Staff also planned activities using iPads to enable children to access information about artists in a different format and to use the Summer Reading Challenge website.
Understanding art forms
Rosemary Kennedy, Development Librarian at Redbridge said: “All participants said they learned new things and in particular they understood that art comes in many formats. They also gained social skills and confidence from the opportunity to share their reading and express opinions.”
The Summer Reading Challenge and Arts Award complemented each other and it proved to be a great opportunity to make more of activities and events already taking place in the library.
“Overall this was a successful project with positive feedback from children and their parents. One of the advantages of the award is that it lends itself to elements already taking place in the library setting such as shared reading, craft activities and enjoying displays and exhibitions.”
Rosemary felt that a resource, linked to the theme of the challenge, was key to the success of the project and is something that would work well in years to come. “A specific booklet with activities mapped against the Summer Reading Challenge theme is an excellent hook on which to build a programme and would be a key incentive for taking part next year.”
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