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. You might even spot a few ideas that you want to try out in your school next year!
Throughout the year, many primary schools taking part in the Reading Challenge used social media to keep us up to date with their reading journey, but some schools went even further than this, harnessing social media to drive their reading culture forward. Caol Primary School in Highland showed us how their Reading is so Caol campaign had reached families, local businesses and celebrities, capturing the imagination of their whole community and driving interest in the power of reading. Bankier Primary School in Falkirk also showed off how they had used Twitter to ensure parents and carers were fully involved in the challenge, with regular challenges set online for families to enter.
We love to see schools taking advantage of their local library services, so we were very impressed by the work of Kincardine-in-Menteith Primary and Thornhill Primary who used their local library bus to set reading challenges for each other and the other schools in their cluster, creating an amazing network of readers. Another innovative library partnership was led by Newtongrange Primary who hid 100 books, donated by Midlothian Library Service, around their community to get everyone excited about reading.
There were even more brilliant partnerships on show, including St Mary’s Primary School’s work with Let Us Shine School in Ghana, which was built around The Book of the Howlat by James Robertson. Thornton Primary in Fife had also built a great network around reading which they shared at our showcase, including their work with Fife Cultural Trust and the University of St Andrews.
Several of our showcase schools chose to show off their work through film, including Kilmaurs Primary from East Ayrshire who created this video showing their changed attitudes to books when they decided to jump into reading and take on the challenge! Another great film was on show at Carron Primary School’s stand, with pupils taking us though the various steps on their reading journey and the changes they’ve made this year.
Amazing things happen when schools make space for books and reading, and Goodlyburn Primary School’s Gaelic Medium Unit is a great example of this, where the daily sharing of Gaelic stories has helped create a thriving reading culture. Kilmacolm Primary are another fantastic example of making reading visible in their school and community – particularly with their reading flashmob at their local library. Meanwhile, Blackwood Primary School have built on their success from last year by creating even more space for reading at school with their outdoor reading spaces, giving pupils a welcoming environment to explore new stories.
What an amazing 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 one of this blog to find out about the other schools who showcased at our Celebration Event.