Reflecting on the Reading Challenge


Secondary school pupils Niamh and Anna love reading and writing, and taking part in the First Minister's Reading Challenge while they were at primary school has helped them become the readers and writers they are today! They reflect on their experience taking part in the Reading Challenge and give us their top reading recommendations for confident readers.

Intoxicating. Cynical. Tenacious. Words are good. We like words, especially on paper. In other words, we like books.  We had always liked books, but things we did in primary school like the First Minister’s Reading Challenge encouraged this. We were possibly the first people to completely fill up our passports. 

Books can take you places and we are really glad we took part in activities and challenges like this in primary because it opened up a world of stories that we wouldn’t have explored otherwise. Reading has also inspired us to write our own stories, so we are really grateful for the opportunities we were given. We think reading books inspires you to do many things you might not take up otherwise, for example, we have started to learn British Sign Language, inspired by Hearthstone in Magnus Chase.

I (Anna) really enjoyed doing the Reading Challenge because it inspired my school to do the reading radio with my friend Norah. We enjoyed interviewing people and had a laugh while doing it. Books can even help you when you least expect it, like in other subjects in school. A book could help you learn about another country – geography - or help you learn about chemicals – science - all while you’re enjoying yourself and not even realising until you finish the book how much you’ve actually learned. That’s another good point, if you’re lazy like us, don’t worry! Books can take you places and you don’t even need to stand up.

There are lots of books out there, and like films everybody has their own preferences and favourites. Some books that we would recommend to people are:

  • Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy Percy Jackson
  • Lockwood and Co by Jonathan Stroud
  • The Enemy by Charlie Higson
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan 
  • The Maze Runner by James Dashner
  • The Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • Magnus Chase and The Gods of Asgard by Rick Riordan
  • Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness ​
  • Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
  • Gone by Michael Grant
  • Boy in the Tower by Polly Ho-Yen 


Thank you to Niamh and Anna for contributing to our blog!

You can find more reading recommendations from schools across Scotland on our blog. If your pupils would like to share their favourite books with us, or tell us about their reading journey, please get in touch by email at 

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