On 20 June 2018, over 300 pupils from 50 schools across Scotland joined us in Edinburgh to celebrate this year’s First Minister’s Reading Challenge at our annual Celebration Event! Over the course of the year, individual pupils, classes and whole schools had been on amazing reading journeys, finding out all about the excitement that reading can bring and the huge variety of books and stories that are out there waiting to be discovered.
One of our favourite parts of the Celebration Event was our showcase, where we gave 21 schools a platform to share the fantastic work that they had been doing with the pupils and teachers who were attending the event, and the First Minister even came to each stall to find out more. If you didn’t make it along to our Celebration Event and would like to find out more about the showcase, this blog should give you a great flavour of the range and creativity of approaches that were on show. Make sure you scroll down to the bottom to see the photos, and you might even spot a few ideas that you want to try out in your school next year!
Many of our schools take a whole-school approach to building a reading culture, and there were some great examples of this in action. Oakgrove Primary School from Glasgow built great engagement in the challenge using a Reading Dares theme, with each class setting and completing different dares to encourage them to read more, try new books and recommend to each other. Tarbolton Primary School in South Ayrshire was another great example of a school which has brought pupils together, in this case with whole-school challenges and shared reading across the school. A picture book-themed mannequin challenge brought the whole school together around reading at St James’ Primary School in Renfrew, with P7 pupils also visiting all classes to check in on reading progress throughout the year.
The Reading Challenge is a great way to give pupils interesting and exciting reading experiences which can change their perspective on reading, and Annette Street Primary in Glasgow really managed to achieve this with their pupils, taking their reading out and about into the local community, adapting a picture book into a play that they performed and sharing their learning through family events. Rockfield Primary’s Gaelic Medium Unit also created some fantastic reading experiences for pupils, from their storytelling and drama workshops, to their Harry Potter themed lessons - Quidditch in PE and potion making in science!
Schools taking part in the Reading Challenge rarely look at books in isolation, instead making connections with all kinds of other subjects across the curriculum. Comely Park Primary explored a great variety of books this term, and made links with art, illustrating their own picture books; history, with a focus on pre-revolutionary Russia and the Scots language too! Simpson Primary were another great example of building a creative project around a book with their amazing Lost Words project involving outdoor learning and nature.
The First Minister’s Reading Challenge has given so many children the chance to discover the magic of reading, and this was on show at Knightsridge Primary’s stand with pupils James and Megan displaying their art creations inspired by stories they have read this year. Pupils also experienced the power of stories at Oaklands School in Edinburgh, who enjoyed showcasing their work with sensory stories for children with complex physical and learning difficulties - you can find out more about this here.
What a fantastic selection of schools! Make sure you check out the photo gallery below to see some of their stands from the showcase, and have a look at part two of this blog to find out about the other schools who showcased at our Celebration Event.