Using eBooks for the First Minister's Reading Challenge

Using eBooks for the First Minister's Reading Challenge

Bev Humphrey discusses the benefits of using eBooks in the classroom.

The First Minister’s Reading Challenge gives you a toolkit of ideas to springboard children into reading for pleasure and using it is a great way to help your school focus on whole school reading, but this doesn’t just have to be reading from physical books.

Many, but not all, children and young people enjoy reading via a device whether that be a game console, mobile phone or tablet and there is no reason why you shouldn’t tap into this by providing them with a wide choice of ebooks to feed their increased reading appetite. Some ebook platforms, like RM books, give you the option of renting books for a certain period of time instead of buying them outright, and many local libraries allow you to borrow ebooks, which makes keeping your stock fresh, contemporary and exciting very easy. Purchasing all of the excellent books on the suggested reading list could prove expensive, but by using a platform you could spread this cost and maintain an ever changing stock at the same time.

The benefits of ereaders

Embracing ebooks and promoting them to your students should certainly help your school with your reading journey and demonstrates that you are providing ways of reading to suit all learners. If any of your pupils have sight or hearing difficulties, reading on a device can make enjoying a story much easier for them. Audiobooks can also work very well for many children; after all who of us does not still love having a story read to us? There’s something just so comforting about listening intently to a story in this way.

Struggling readers often prefer the privacy of being able to read books on a device, because it is not so obvious that they are choosing books at a lower level that are more suitable for their reading ability. You may want to consider renting or buying graphic novel versions of popular novels like the Percy Jackson books as the graphic novel is invariably an easier read but allows children to discuss the latest ‘it’ book with their peers as they will have read the same story, just in a more easily digestible form.

Read wherever you are!

If you are to support pupil reading journeys ‘the next book’ needs to be easily accessible and using an ebook platform allows you to provide a 7days a week, 24 hour all-you-can-eat smorgasbord of reading matter for your story hungry children. The convenience of being able to read from your phone at any time, anywhere would be a definite plus for our tech savvy youngsters - after all even younger children are often very attached to their phone! I love the idea of encouraging children to review the books they read by creating a book trailer and it would be wonderful to attach those trailers to the book for others to see - what a great way to get some peer recommendation going on.

Ebooks are not right for every child, just as they are not popular with all adults, but it’s so important to provide a variety of mediums to introduce children to the absorbing joy of immersing yourself in a world of imagination and new experiences. Digital reading is just one way of doing so!


If you're interested in literacy, Bev is a fantastic person to keep up with on Twitter or through her blog. She is a literacy, school libraries and technology consultant with 10 years' experience of working in school libraries, where she championed her passions for books and technology to inspire young readers. She is also the creator of The Write Path, an ongoing international collaborative writing project which was shortlisted for a TES New Literacy Initiative Award in 2009.

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