The Book Quest – Become a Literary Legend

Covid 19 has meant that school students have lost access to their usual English lessons and both school and public libraries. With many underrepresented groups unlikely to be able to purchase or access books, we identified a need to support these students to still engage with literature and develop their reading skills.

The Book Quest is a joint project between the University of Surrey’s WPO team and the Higher Education Outreach Network (HEON). The Book Quest provides students with a book every four weeks and access to an online portal on the HEON Outreach Hub Website. There are two quests (Years 7-8 and 9-11). The online portal has a range of activities that allow the students to learn more about topics, literary techniques and devices. Students can complete assignments, which are quizzes to assess knowledge, pursuits, which are cross-curricular activities and expeditions, which are larger projects.

Students completed a pre-evaluation form that measured their confidence in both reading and creative writing and will complete a final evaluation also. The quizzes and activities are also being used as a way of evaluating engagement and knowledge development. Initially we had 72 students sign up for the quest and have retained 50 students to continue onto Book 2.

Each quest involves four books and will conclude at the end of August. Students receive a digital certificate for each book they read and rewards for completing books 2 and 4. Parents/carers are also included in the quest and provided information about the books their child is reading.

A student said, “I loved the book and so did my mum. I read some every night with her and we thought it was amazing, I finished it in 3 nights (that’s a new world record for me). Can’t wait to see what book I get next.”