Adult community education service Summer Reading Challenge partnership work

children's craft activities

The Summer Reading Challenge gives us the opportunity to work with library partners to promote the enjoyment of reading and help families to explore books in different ways.


Our family learning involvement in the Summer Reading Challenge began in July 2012 when Story Lab activities linked to the 2012 Olympics were delivered in three libraries across Amber Valley. The success of these initial sessions and positive feedback from families prompted expansion of the provision.

Over the years families have enjoyed school holiday sessions built around:

  • record breakers
  • creepy houses
  • mythical monsters
  • scary scarecrows
  • pop-up books.

In 2016, the theme for the Summer Reading Challenge was 'Roald Dahl 100'. Our tutors delivered sessions in ten libraries including South Normanton, Swadlincote, Long Eaton, Bolsover, Matlock and Gamesley. In total we worked with 92 adults and 176 children. Families enjoyed listening to revolting rhymes and story extracts and made fabulous dream catchers, giant peaches, and fantastic foxes.

A Revolting Rhymes session for families in Matlock Library in August 2016 was delivered by tutors Geraldine Dean and Antoinette Kennerley and combined reading, food and craft activities. This session aimed to:

  • provide a fun, supportive environment for adults and children to participate with their child
  • boost the self-esteem and confidence of parents and children
  • reduce feelings of social isolation.

The activities included making wiggly worm and eyeball spaghetti and revolting cocktails, reading about Goldilocks from the three bears' perspective.

Feedback from parents involved in the Summer Reading Challenge included:

"We have really enjoyed session, well organised and well resourced. Perfect for my six year old son. Thank you."

"… really enjoyed it, loved it. We are going home to read more…"

"Brilliant craft session! My children really enjoyed making a giant peach! Really helpful staff too. Definitely recommend it!"

"Lovely workshop for the children and fun for the grown-ups too! Thank you."

"The fantastic Mr Fox exercise at the Derbyshire County Library was a lot of fun for the children ….and the adults as well. It was educative, artsy and crafty and my children were totally engaged - thank you! I recommend it again and again."

The children's librarian in Amber Valley said:

"DACES has always been easy to work with and able to run a range of activities across several branches which provide us with a good coverage of activities in support of our own. One of the best things about working with DACES is how adaptable your tutors are to the different themes we run in libraries from Chinese New Year to Roald Dahl. Library staff are always very complementary regarding tutors and the sessions they run, and we generally have very good attendance and feedback from our library users. In regards to this year's Summer Reading Challenge, the tutors were able to link with the Roald Dahl theme in a variety of ways that meant they didn't overlap with any libraries were already planning and were both imaginative and educational."