Have you embraced the First Minister’s Reading Challenge, made fantastic steps in creating a reading culture in your school and seen a positive difference in learners’ attitudes to reading? Are you now worried about how to put it all together to enter the Challenge? Look no further! In this blog, I will try to answer some commonly asked questions and offer some practical ideas and advice on how to showcase your achievements and submit an entry.
The challenges you can submit an entry for are: School Reading Journey, GME Reading Journey, School and Community Reading Journey, Pupil Reading Journey, School Reading the Most Books, and Pupil Reading the Most Books. You can submit an entry for one of the challenges above or, indeed, all of them! Click here for full guidance on what the different challenges entail.
First things first: if you wish to enter either the School or Pupil Reading the Most Books challenges, you do not need to send us all of your reading passports! All you need to do is state the number of books read in each instance and write a few sentences of background information - we trust your professional judgement to make sure your submission is accurate and fair! We want to make sure children have the chance to keep their Reading Passports if they wish; it’s always nice for them to have a record of their achievements and the ability to refer to the titles of books they have read and those they would recommend. However, if you want to send a few examples to us, or photographs or copies of passport pages to support your entries for any of the challenges, please feel free to do so.
How to Tell the Story of a Reading Journey
It's difficult to know where to start when showcasing a reading journey. There is so much that goes into creating a reading culture and so many ways in which impact can be observed, but not all of them are easy to document. That is why you can choose the method which suits you, and we encourage you to be creative! There are no restrictions; all we ask is a bit of background information about where you started and how far you’ve come. You could start by asking the children for suggestions (I imagine they would most likely respond with making a film or something which uses the latest exciting technology!) A film is a great way to show us what you’ve done in school and provide a platform to talk about the impact it has had, but if it’s not for you, there are a number of other ways to tell us your story. You may want to choose a couple of methods; for example, a written report coupled with a slideshow of pictures and quotes. It is entirely up to you.
In terms of showing us the impact that the Reading Challenge has had on your school, it is important to stress again that we do not require quantitive evidence. As a teacher, one of the ways I knew whether something had had a positive impact was by hearing pupils talking about it in the lunch queue, a parent popping in to tell me it had made a difference to their child or teachers chatting about what they’ve seen and think in the staffroom. It’s the little things like this that we want to hear about; the small everyday occurrences that, when added together, build a bigger picture. Similarly, for the Pupil Reading Journey challenge, encourage your pupils to choose the medium they like the best to tell us their story. A personal reading journey can take many forms, from discovering new genres, finding a book that has had a big impact on them or reading a book out of choice for the first time. The entry can be from an individual pupil, a small group or even a whole class. Learners may find it easier to write about their experience, talk about it, act it out or draw it. Encourage them to be creative and remember, there is no wrong way to do it!
For more ideas and example methods to use, have a look at our How to Enter guide and if you would like a structure to follow, find example questions to answer in our Templates for Challenge Entries resource.
Find Inspiration from Others
Don’t forget to keep an eye out on Twitter @FMReadChallenge and on our blog to see how schools have already shared their experiences with us. There’s nothing like seeing how someone else has done it to spark ideas and provide creative fuel!
It’s Time to Submit Your Entry
You can submit your entry right up until 3 May. Once you are ready, log in to your account and click on the Challenges button. Choose the challenge you wish to enter and click on it. Remember that only the Key Contact can submit an entry for the school-wide challenges but teachers can submit entries for the Pupil Reading Journey and Pupil Reading the Most Books challenges.
At the bottom of the page, you can attach files to make up your entry. There is a list of compatible file formats which will work and if your file is not compatible, it should be easy to convert it into one of these options.
If you are struggling to attach a file online, then by all means, send us a hard copy to Sandeman House, 55 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1SR. However, please build in extra time before the deadline for your entry to arrive!
If you wish to add to or edit your entry, click on Challenges then View Submissions. You will then have the option to click on edit to review and change your submission.
We’re really looking forward to hearing all about what you’ve done for the First Minister’s Reading Challenge and how you have inspired a love for reading for pleasure!
Remember, if you are unsure of what to send in, please do get in touch with us at email@example.com or phone us on 0131 524 0160.