Creating Reading Role Models at St John's Primary

Sharing Gorilla Loves Vanilla

Clare Casey, class teacher at St John's Primary School in Ayr, tracks the impact of their shared reading project and how it has complimented their focus on reading for pleasure through the First Minister's Reading Challenge.

At St John’s Primary School in Ayr, our Primary 6 class have been on a Class Reading Journey as part of the First Minister’s Reading Challenge. We have participated in a variety of stimulating and interesting activities including a shared reading project, where we undertook training on how to use stimulating voices to engage children in listening to stories. We practised on one another before working with our P1 buddies during Book Week Scotland.

Our Shared Reading Project

This project really encouraged the children to become leaders throughout the school, sharing what they had learned with other classes at assembly or through Twitter. The children became great role models for their P1 buddies and had a huge responsibility, which they all accepted wholeheartedly.

The children started the project by meeting their buddies and taking them to lunch. It was wonderful to watch the children get on so well and all children showed care and responsibility towards their younger peers. The P1 pupils and teachers were so enthusiastic about the sessions making it a huge success for all involved. The children were so excited and looked forward to seeing their older buddy at lunch and during the reading sessions.

The P6s had the idea of bringing props and cushions with them to the reading sessions and they made masks and rosettes for their buddies to wear. The older children demonstrated maturity and a caring side to their younger peers throughout the sessions showing what positive role models they are. The project really gave all children a sense of pride which was remarkable to watch develop. It increased confidence and motivation for reading with the P6 children and they fully embraced the challenge of leadership responsibilities.

Millie in P6B said ‘We are lucky to be in charge of this project around the school! I really love shared reading time and being a role model to my buddy in P1!’

Encouraging Reading for Pleasure

As part of the First Minister’s Reading Challenge, we set ourselves challenges every week using our reading passports and have found ourselves reading in lots of unusual places including the swimming pool, the bus stop and gym classes. We have been reading to people that we normally would never read to, like little brothers and sisters or children in other classes around the school.  There has been great excitement when the new reading books arrived to support our initiative.

Throughout this time we also tuned in to BBC Authors Live where the children looked forward to watching some of their favourite authors tell us all about the books they have written, including Phil Earle and Pamela Butchart. A huge highlight for the children was when one of our questions was read out live on air. :)

The children also really enjoy taking trips down to our local library to take part in a local initiative called ‘Discover Reading’. This initiative, run by our local library, encouraged the children to read for enjoyment and try books they might not normally pick. We were surprised by how many children said they had not been in a library before and only really read on their phone or tablet. 

To celebrate our reading, the children have been working hard creating a reading journey display that they started in August - and continue to add to every month. It has been an amazing journey so far! With the help of Scottish Book Trust, we will continue to develop confidence, raise attainment in literacy and enjoy reading for the rest of our journey.

Back to Blog

Get the resources and support you need to promote reading in your school or community

Take part