Our celebration event on 10 June brought together schools, libraries and community groups from across Scotland for an incredible reading party! This was the first time that secondary schools, public libraries and community groups were invited alongside primary schools, and we were so excited to hand out awards to those who had impressed us most this year.
We were delighted to be joined by author Ross Mackenzie and Minister for Mental Health Clare Haughey who awarded prizes to five schools, one library and one community group, as well as announcing five highly commended schools.
The School Reading Journey Award went to Cowie Primary School in Stirling. Their exciting and creative reading journey included opening a brand new library, creating class reading spaces and setting up a Crafty Characters Club for pupils and a book club for staff. Teacher Donna Bullivant said that, "participating in the First Minister’s Reading Challenge has inspired and motivated our learners and wider learning community to read widely for enjoyment and develop a love of reading".
Fernielea Primary School in Aberdeen were highly commended for their School Reading Journey, which included exciting events such as reading around the campfire! St Mary’s Primary School in Inverclyde, where pupils had taken a leading role in shaping their reading journeys, was also highly commended.
The reading journey of pupils in Gaelic Medium Education was recognised in our Gaelic Education Reading Journey Award, which was won by Sgoil nan Loch, Eilean Siar. Pupils and parents worked to promote a culture of reading for pleasure with activities such as the shelfie challenge. Principal Teacher Ann-Marie Lockerbie commented that "pupils, parents and staff have worked tremendously hard and we all thoroughly enjoyed it."
To celebrate the collaborative work done by schools and their local communities, we were thrilled to present Aberlemno Primary School in Angus with the award for School-Community Partnership Reading Journey. Partnerships with the church community, parents and local businesses have formed a great community focus on the importance of reading for pleasure. Head Teacher Nicola Yarr said that “this is a partnership between the school and our local community that we hope will last a lifetime.”
Another community reading journey which impressed the judging panel came from Muck Primary School, Highland, which was highly commended in this category. This rural school became a hub for its small community after opening the doors of its library to community members and holding reading events for all.
The final primary school prize was for School Reading the Most Books and this went to New Deer School in Aberdeenshire. According to Head Teacher Wilma Mutch, “New Deer children have a real love of reading – the school has a buzz about books and our library is a wee safe haven where children can lose themselves in a book.”
The Reading Inspiration Award was created to celebrate the reading journeys taking place in Scotland’s secondary schools, and the judging panel were thoroughly inspired by the inaugural winners, Whitburn Academy from West Lothian. The school focused on a small group of pupils who didn’t identify as readers and over the course of the year witnessed a dramatic change in their interest, confidence and skills. Head Teacher Tracey Loudon stated “as a school we couldn't be more proud of the achievement of our Literacy Leaders.”
The focus on reading for health and wellbeing at Hillhead High School, Glasgow and strong staff investment in creating a culture of reading at Dunfermline High School, Fife impressed our judges, with both schools receiving highly commended.
Our first Library Reading Culture Award went to Duloch Library in Fife where the Need to Read book group has been issuing book prescriptions to encourage others to read. According to Service Development Supervisor Lisa Penman, “this has been a great opportunity for us to spread our love of reading to other young people in the library.”
The final prize was for an extremely creative community group – the Bookberries after school club on Islay, Argyll & Bute, which is run by local parents. The worthy winners of our Community Reading Culture Award brought books to life for the children with their creative sessions based around different genres. Group Leader Hilary Epps said “we couldn't be prouder that the children of Port Charlotte Primary have had their club recognised through this fantastic achievement, they are all stars!”
There were also a number of prizes awarded to individual pupils and classes.
Congratulations to all of the winners, and we look forward to continuing your reading journeys with you next term!