Reading Sparks is a new project to engage children and families with science through reading from The Reading Agency. The project is funded by Arts Council England and Science and Technology Facilities Council and delivered in partnership with public libraries, the British Science Association, and NUSTEM at the University of Northumbria.
Reading Sparks will harness the proven power of reading to engage families with STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and bridge the gap in science capital for families from lower socio-economic groups, teenage girls and BME communities. We are working with 11 library services across England who support some of the most disadvantaged communities in the country to pilot reading and science activities. Those library services are: Barnsley, Coventry, Derbyshire, Halton, Hillingdon, Hull, Newham, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Swindon, Torbay.
The pilot project will run from 2021-23. The project has two main elements during the period while libraries are closed to community and social activities due to Coronavirus restrictions:
- Reading and science activity bags for loan to disadvantaged families
- Science and reading engagement small group work with disadvantaged young people, both virtually and in-person when permitted.
Once library spaces are able to reopen to social and community activities, the project will develop into family reading and science activities in library spaces curated by young people from that community. This programme will bring much needed free and fun community-based activities, family and child-centred informal learning, and some of the best science communicators and authors to the most deprived communities in England - sparking confidence in reading and science.
We are working together with national science partners, our valued publisher partners and Libraries Connected to ensure this project delivers great experiences for young people, children and families across England.
For further information contact Liz Jeavans the Reading Sparks Programme Manager - Liz.Jeavans@readingagency.org.uk