News and Comment

Reading Hack is a fun way for young people to recognise their self-worth

Monday 20 June 2016

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Reading Hack is an innovative Reading Agency programme funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. Launched in 2015, the programme works with young people aged 13-24 across England to create opportunities for reading-inspired activity, volunteering roles and peer-to-peer reading advocacy.

OPM has been commissioned to undertake a three year evaluation of Reading Hack to understand its impact on the young people and organisations taking part, as well as exploring more widely what works to engage young people with reading.

Our findings in the first year show that Reading Hack is popular and growing quickly, offering a unique opportunity for young people to access year-round volunteering, skills development and engagement in one place.

“I feel like I am taking part in the community – not someone on top of the community but within it helping looking after it.” Reading Hack volunteer

In its first year of delivery, 53 library authorities signed up as delivery partners and delivered approximately 1,800 Reading Hack events in 621 local libraries. Of these events, 26% happened in areas of social deprivation. Across these authorities, 5,686 young people took part as ‘Reading Hackers’ with 9,619 young people participating in events. That equates to an average of 107 volunteers per Local Authority area engaging an average of 181 other young people in activities.

Reading Hackers spoke about how fun the experience was, as well as how positive it felt to be productive and be contributing to ‘something useful.’ The programme’s focus on young people’s leadership, from developing an idea through to implementing and delivering it, has helped participants to recognise their self-worth and feel more confident in their ability to take initiative.

You can find out more information about Reading Hack here and download the interim report with our learning and recommendations here.