Please note some activities in this blog were undertaken prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here at Milnathort Primary School staff and children have created an array of opportunities to build a love of reading, books and storytelling as part of the First Minister's Reading Challenge. Some examples include; reading buddies; sharing books with younger pupils; the creation of an Outdoor Reading Room; partnership working with Scottish Book Trust and Loch Leven Library and parents joining us for storytelling sessions at our Read Write Count Book gifting events.
In 2019, we took things to another level. We have a staff team who are willing to take risks and try out new things and by using Read Write Count in a different way we have sustained interest in the books and resources over a longer period of time in the home, and also increased parental engagement for school storytelling and reading events.
Planning our event
Inspired by a Read, Write, Count training event led by Clare Fulton of Scottish Book Trust and the books and resources in the bags, we decided to hold a “teaser” launch with our P2 and P3 classes.
Children would plan refreshments, bake cakes and write invitations and the Read, Write, Count bags would be gifted at our Reading Café, where the books and resources eagerly explored and shared. We were so impressed with the materials but wanted to avoid a short-term burst of interest at home where families the chance to use and and explore each item in depth could be missed. We decided to “drip feed” the books and resources and invite parents to not one Reading Café but several across the school term.
Our first Reading Café
At the first Reading Café we made everyone aware that the Read, Write, Count materials would be issued in stages, and that we would gift another book or resource each session! We modelled storytelling and ideas for using the resources, and gave families time to explore the items together. This meant that everything in the bags was valued and given the high profile it deserved.
Children and families love the Reading Café and it is something that we plan to explore for our P1 classes too.
“It’s such a relaxed way of doing things. I get the time to come in play the games. I’m not as rushed as I am home juggling everything. I prefer the drip feed” Parent
“It’s always nice to come to the school… it isn’t just the books and the bag it is the whole learning event. In previous years, with my older son, the books haven’t stuck in my mind as much as they have this time” Parent
Against all odds, Milnathort Primary even managed to keep the spirit of the Reading Café alive during lockdown with pupils enjoying reading at home and sharing on social media.
Support from Regional Outreach Co-ordinators
Working with Regional Outreach Co-ordinator Clare Fulton has been an important part of Milnathort Primary's reading journey. Scottish Book Trust's Regional Outreach Co-ordinators are available to support schools seeking to build their reading culture whether they are starting from scratch or have already embarked on the process. From providing book recommendations to advice on how to adapt ideas like the reading café to the current restrictions, we would love to speak to you.
- Dumfries and Galloway, Scottish Borders, East Ayrshire, North Ayrshire and South Ayrshire contact Ella McLellan on firstname.lastname@example.org
- Perth and Kinross, Angus, Fife and Dundee contact Clare Fulton on email@example.com
- Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen City and Moray contact Christian Ritchie on firstname.lastname@example.org
- All other local authorities contact email@example.com
Find more ideas and resources to help you make the most of the Read, Write, Count bags.