The Reading Agency’s Reading Sparks programme will gift book bags to families experiencing hardship

Date published: 07 August 2021

The Reading Agency is coordinating gift bags that will be distributed to children and families by library services in Oldham this summer.

The gift bags include fantastic books for children of all ages with a STEM theme and STEM activities for families to complete over the summer. 

This gift is part of the Reading Agency’s new Reading Sparks programme, a new project to engage children and families with science through reading from The Reading Agency in partnership with libraries, the British Science Association, the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and NUSTEM.

The Reading Agency has received funding from Arts Council England and the STFC to work with 11 library services across England to harness the proven power of reading to engage families with STEM and bridge the gap in science capital for families from lower socio-economic groups, teenage girls and BAME communities.

The project will run from 2021-23. 

Library services will gift the packs via a variety of partners and engagement activities, including food banks, Early Help and Troubled Families teams, refugee support schemes and via Holiday Activities and Food programmes they are running in their local areas.  

Karen Napier, CEO at The Reading Agency, said: “Our exciting new Reading Sparks programme is demonstrating the role that reading can play in sparking science engagement across the country, especially in areas with low science capital. 

"This year children and families need support over the summer holidays more than ever. 

"We are delighted to be working with libraries, publishers and STFC to be giving high quality STEM books and resources to families experiencing hardship.

"This gift forms part of our commitment to supporting the Covid recovery for those in greatest need and supporting learning and aspiration across all communities, but it wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of publishers, the support of library services across the country and of our funders Arts Council England and STFC.”

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