We are very excited that the First Minister’s Reading Challenge is now open to secondary schools and that so many schools across the country have already taken up the challenge to build a reading culture that inspires their pupils.
The Creative Workshops Fund is one way we are supporting secondary schools this year. This fund will support schools to work with an author or other creative practitioner on a dynamic project to challenge perspectives of reading and writing and engage pupils.
In your application, we ask you to let us know a bit about your idea for a project to inspire your pupils. To help get you thinking about different ways to approach this, here are eight ways you could use the creative workshops fund.
Make Space for Reading
Whether you already have a school library or not, perhaps your school could benefit from having another area for reading, like a den or outdoor reading area. You could use your funding to work with an artist to co-design the space with your pupils. Have fun creating the perfect reading spot, and spend any additional money on new books and materials.
Write about History
Work with a non-fiction or historical fiction writer to link your project to a topic your pupils are studying in history. Pupils could work to produce a piece of historical writing, and be inspired by workshops on research and writing skills, or a trip to a local museum or archive.
Share Stories across the Community
If you’ve been hoping to increase links with parents, grandparents and other members of your local community, working with a storyteller could be a great way to get started. An initial workshop for your pupils could introduce them to the idea of sharing stories together and help increase their confidence, before having a wider community event. Your funding could help create a great atmosphere with blankets and hot chocolate– maybe even some artificial campfires for telling stories around!
Illustrate a Story
Your pupils could illustrate their favourite scene from a book by working with an illustrator. The funding can help you purchase any art materials you will need to help your pupils create their masterpieces, which could be displayed in the school library to help other pupils find their next read.
Challenge Misconceptions About Poetry
Pupils can sometimes be unsure about trying poetry, but working closely with a poet can give them a totally new perspective on this form of writing, giving them the confidence to try writing their own and even sharing their work at a poetry slam. You could even work with other departments like music and drama to make the event a great celebration of different creative forms.
Bring Books to Life for Younger Children
Sharing picture books with younger children can have an amazing impact on the confidence of your pupils, and their own interest in reading, even for reluctant readers. Working with a drama practitioner can give pupils the skills to share books in an exciting and engaging way, paving the way for a great partnership project with your local primary school or nursery.
Hold a Book Trailer Masterclass
Creating book trailers can be a great way for pupils to share a book they've have enjoyed, and working with a filmmaker can give your pupils the skills and confidence to make trailers that stand out. Workshops could focus on filming and editing skills as well as thinking about characterisation and atmosphere, and you could hold a premier event to celebrate the finished trailers.
Use Comic Strips for Transition
If your pupils are more interested in reading comics than novels, you can use this to your advantage by boosting their skills in writing and drawing their own comics! Working with a comic creator, your pupils could create comics to give to P7 pupils about to transition to the school with some useful information as well as humorous anecdotes about life at the school, and with your funding you could print a copy for every incoming S1 pupil.
These ideas are just a small selection of ways that you could approach your Creative Workshops project. If you are looking for more examples of the different types of creative practitioners you could work with, check out our author directory or the Creativity Portal. We can’t wait to hear your ideas to inspire your pupils.