Emily Sinclair, Support for Learning Teacher at Bankton Primary discusses how they have encouraged reluctant readers to take part in the First Minister’s Reading Challenge.
'Mrs Sinclair, it’s just readin’s no really ma thing!'
When we first signed up for the First Ministers Reading Challenge, we began looking for creative ways to engage pupils to read more books and to encourage shared reading opportunities. We have many pupils who don’t have bedtime stories or share books at home and we wanted to ensure that all children have a chance to experience stories and books in this way.
We wanted to engage all pupils with the Reading Challenge, not just those who already read for pleasure. It is so important to try and reach everyone and a flexible and accessible Challenge is exactly what we needed to inspire us. We are very lucky to have a free and very well attended breakfast club, which seemed the perfect place to start. Enthusiastically we filled a few boxes of books and brought them down for children to share. Some children engaged in this right away and began rummaging through the box, taking a book to share with a friend. Others were a bit more reluctant.
Taking a step back and observing the children, we realised that we needed to capture the attention of a large group of children (mostly boys) who were not interested in sharing stories. We decided to buy a few extra high-interest books, to hook them in.
And so the excitement built… On day two, alongside the two book boxes, there was a gleaming new display of books for the children to choose from. Included in this was a Star Wars manual, a Minecraft book, a Pokemon Collector’s book as well as various other exciting books about space, science, animals and fighter jets; all with bright pictures to support the text.
Needless to say the children loved them and a bit of competition set in to see who could get to them first. To further hook the children in and keep the enthusiasm for the Reading Challenge going, we bought a range of books to use as prizes. Each day when a child reads or shares a book they can enter their name into a prize draw, which is held on a Friday. Alongside this we randomly hide ‘winning Post-It notes’ in books which the children can exchange for a book.
The children now love reading at breakfast club and enjoy sharing stories and books with each other. The older children are keen to read to the younger ones and I have noticed a huge increase in their confidence. The little boy who at the beginning told me, 'Mrs Sinclair, It’s just readin’s no ma thing' can now regularly be seen sharing a book with a friend! What more could we ask for?