Welcome back to the Reading Challenge

Pupils in school library

It’s the start of another school year, and another year of the First Minister's Reading Challenge! We’ve been delighted to see so many of you register for this year’s challenge already. Registering early means you will be entered into our giveaway for £250 of books. It’s been great to launch our new webinar series too - sign up for one of our upcoming sessions if you haven’t attended one yet. We will be sharing the recordings of past sessions soon.

Looking back and looking ahead

Despite the school closures and restrictions, last year’s Reading Challenge ended on a hopeful note with the announcement of our fantastic winners from across Scotland. Their creativity and commitment to sharing books was so inspiring, and we look forward to seeing where they go next on their reading journeys.

As we return to our schools, libraries and community groups the importance of reading for pleasure is greater than ever. This article from librarian Jennifer Horan highlights some of the research on the significance of reading for our wellbeing, especially during lockdown and other times of stress and upheaval.

Resources for getting started

We have a lots of useful resources which can help you get started or resume building your reading culture, and all of them can be found in our resource library.

Our new mind maps contain all of the key information you need, so why not print a copy for your staff room or notice board? The start of the year is also a critical time for getting other staff on board with the challenge, so our door signs, cross-curricular book lists and video on what you can achieve through the challenge will be great tools to help make this happen. For ideas on sharing books amidst ongoing restrictions, take a look at our safe book borrowing guide.

Working with authors

As you plan your reading events and activities this year, make sure you include working with authors in some way! Working with an author can inspire children and young people in a unique way, bringing their books to life with expert tips on writing, illustration, storytelling and more. Through the Reading Challenge you can apply for funding to build an exciting creative project around an author visit, and we have funds available for primary schools, secondary schools, libraries and community groups. This year, we are including digital events in this fund so that you can benefit from working with an author wherever you are.

BBC Authors Live and the Scottish Friendly Children’s Book Tour are also providing digital opportunities to work with authors.

Staying up to date

Once you’re registered for the challenge you will receive our newsletter to help you keep up to date with new resources and opportunities throughout the challenge. Day to day, you can also follow us on Twitter @FMReadChallenge for:

  • Inspiration and best practice #FMRCInspiration
  • Competitions and giveaways
  • Book recommendations #ChildrensBookChat

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