Working with a team of teenage volunteers, we developed story performances using music and sound as a way to encourage children to take up the summer reading challenge.


In March 2014 OCM met John Piling from Oxfordshire Library Service at an Arts Award Supports event in Berkshire and tentatively discussed a few ideas for a joint project during the summer holidays.

Each summer the library take part in the Summer Reading Challenge which aims to get as many children and young people from the county to read as many books as possible.

Using this as a stimulus we brainstormed some potential ideas.


We decided that we would support the Summer Reading Challenge by working alongside library volunteers to create an audio soundscape for selected books which we would perform at the library each week.

Our aim for the performances was that they would encourage and inspire more children and young people to take up the challenge!

The Story

Working with sound practitioner Kelly Smith, each week different library volunteers selected children’s books to work from as stimulus and used IPads and sound recorders to put together an audio soundscape to accompany their performances.

The readings took place at Witney Library and the stories included were:

  • The Gruffolo
  • Where the Wild things are
  • Giraffes can’t dance

Impact on Participants

Please see quotes section.

Next Steps

This has been a very exciting project to work on. The young volunteers all commented positively on their experience of the project.

If we were to run a similar project in the future, we would look at how we can use books aimed at a teenage audience and organise reading evenings targeted at that age group.

We have recorded the audio for the performances and will provide Witney Library with a copy of the CD’s which they can pass on to parents of infants that use their services.