The First Minister’s Reading Challenge aims to help children and young people between the ages of 5 and 18 develop a love of reading. We’re supporting schools, libraries and communities across Scotland to develop reading cultures and give very child in Scotland the opportunity to experience the benefits – and the fun – of reading for pleasure.
Who can take part
All primary schools in Scotland can register to take part, and the Reading Challenge is also open to secondary schools, community groups and public libraries.
Benefits of registration
Registration for the First Minister’s Reading Challenge allows you to:
- order reading passports for every pupil in your school. Both English and Gaelic language passports are available
- order group passports for your classes, which are wall charts that classes can use together to log their reading
- access our huge range of downloadable learning resources for use in the classroom. From activity sheets and interactive games to case studies and videos, these resources will really help you to bring books to life in the classroom. You can preview all of the resources here, and log in to download them
- apply for Inspiring Classroom funding
- submit your Reading Challenge stories to us for a chance to win national or regional awards and attend our Celebration event
How to take part
- Register your school
A key contact should register the school for the challenge, and order any passports. Registration is quick and easy. If you were signed up last year, your key contact just needs to log in and opt in to this year's challenge. They will then find the passport ordering page linked on their account page. If you didn't take part last year, you can register here and order passports. If you have any issues with registration, please contact us.
- Ask staff to sign up
Once the school has been registered by a key contact, all staff can register for teacher accounts with your school and register their own classes.
- Grow your reading culture
You can browse our resource library and our blog for ideas and inspiration.
- Enter the Challenges
We want to hear all about your school and pupil reading journeys!
Resources and inspiration
In our resources section we have a variety of downloadable and adaptable resources available for staff and pupils, including guides to building and sustaining a reading culture, quizzes, PowerPoints to use in the classroom and activities you can do with your class. Resources can be filtered by type and theme, making it as easy as possible to find something that works for you.
Everyone who registers for the Challenge will also be sent regular email updates about taking part, full of support and ideas. You may unsubscribe from these emails at any time without affecting your participation in the First Minister's Reading Challenge.
Inspiring Classrooms Fund
Inspiring classrooms offers funding to invite an author, illustrator, storyteller or poet into your classroom to work with pupils and to buy books or other resources to make the most of the visit. All primary schools taking part in the Reading Challenge can apply for this fund, and the deadline to apply is 26 November 2020. You can find out more and apply here.
Visit our CLPL page for details of upcoming webinars and local CLPL sessions to help you make the most of the Reading Challenge and give you opportunities to connect with other schools taking part. This page also includes our featured examples of inspirational practice!
Primary school challenges
We’ve developed six Challenges that primary schools can enter, but you can also come up with your own and develop personalised Reading Challenges for pupils.
Challenge submissions will be open on the website very soon, and you can enter any time before the closing day on 29 April 2021.
School Reading Journey
This Challenge celebrates the progress your group has made, and the steps you’ve taken to read for pleasure more often.
Read our Building and Sustaining Your Reading Culture resource for practical ideas and advice to get you started.
Gaelic Medium Education Reading Journey
Reading as a skill and reading for pleasure can look slightly different for children in Gaelic Medium Education (GME) and so this challenge recognises the progress GME schools or units have made when developing a culture of reading for pleasure.
School-Community Partnership Reading Journey
This challenge is for primary schools who have worked in partnership with their local library and other organisations to build a reading culture across a community
School Reading the Most Books
This is an opportunity for pupils to broaden their reading habits and experience a wide range genres, authors and styles. While reading widely isn’t possible or motivating for every pupil, there will be many pupils and classes who’d love the idea of reading as many books as they can.
This Challenge should involve your whole school. We will then calculate the average number of books read by each child and use this to judge submissions.
Pupil Reading Journey
This Challenge is aimed at children and young people themselves, and can be entered by an individual or a group. We want to hear about the progress that an individual or small group has made in their reading journey.
Pupil Reading the Most Books
This Challenge is for individuals who want to read more and broaden their reading habits. Unlike the School Reading the Most Books Challenge, this can be done by specific pupils and doesn’t need to involve the whole school.
Personalised Reading Challenges
We hope that you are inspired by the challenges we’ve set but we know that many pupils will be motivated by challenges that are personal to them. Use our resources to find ideas for personal reading challenges and use the downloadable certificates to celebrate each pupil’s achievements.
Personalised Reading Challenges are open to everyone. You don’t need to submit a formal entry to us, but we would love to hear what you do and share your ideas with other groups. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to send a Personalised Reading Challenge to be featured on our website or social media.
The Celebration Event!
We have seen so much inspiring practice from schools across Scotland who have found creative and exciting ways to encourage their pupils to discover the magic of reading. This video of our celebration event 2019 shows just what can be achieved by signing up for the Challenge and putting a focus on reading for pleasure each year. Well done to all the fantastic pupils and schools who have shared their reading journeys with us so far!
What should pupils read?
Anything! The Reading Challenge puts a focus on reading for pleasure and children will be more excited about reading if they're reading something that motivates them.
We have a lots of book suggestions for primary school pupils in our books section. These are just suggested places to start a child's reading journey. The Scottish Book Trust website also has hundreds of books lists for children of all ages and abilities.
Our blog also features book lists submitted by pupils and classes - why not work with your class to write your own book list and send it in to us to be featured on the blog?
If your school has participated in the Reading Challenge before, your key contact can opt-in to this year's challenge quickly and easily. Just log in to your account and select yes when prompted to confirm you want to take part again.
If you need to change to a new key contact, you can contact us by phone on 0131 524 0160 or by email at email@example.com.
New key contacts will have the opportunity to order reading passports for their school when they register for the Reading Challenge. Passports are available in English language, Gaelic and as group passports, which are wall charts for your classroom.
Key contacts can also order passports at any time from their account page, so if you're opting in to the challenge this year, remember to place your order!
Changing your school's key contact
If you need to change your school's key contact, please just contact us and we will be happy to help you.
Reading Challenge submissions will open in 2021, and will be open until 29 April 2021.
There is no set format to submit to most of the Challenges, and we encourage you to tell us your school and class stories in the way that is best for you.