The First Minister’s Reading Challenge aims to help children and young people between the ages of 5 and 18 develop a love of reading. We’re supporting schools, libraries and communities across Scotland to develop reading cultures and give very child in Scotland the opportunity to experience the benefits – and the fun – of reading for pleasure.
Who can take part
All secondary schools in Scotland can register to take part. You can take part as a whole school, or as individual classes or groups. The Reading Challenge is also open to primary schools, community groups and public libraries.
Benefits of registration
Registration for the First Minister’s Reading Challenge allows you to:
- order group passports for your classes or groups, which are wall charts that pupils can use together to log their reading
- access our huge range of downloadable learning resources for use in the classroom. From activity sheets and interactive games to lesson plans and videos, these resources will really help you to bring books to life in the classroom. You can preview all of the resources here, and log in to download them
- apply for Creative Workshop funding
- submit your Reading Challenge stories to us for a chance to win awards and attend our Celebration event
How to take part
- Register your school
A key contact should register the school for the challenge, and order any group passports. Registration is quick and easy. If you were signed up last year, your key contact just needs to log in and opt in to this year's challenge. They will then find the passport ordering page linked on their account page. If you didn't take part last year, you can register here and order passports. If you have any issues with registration, please contact us.
- Ask staff to sign up
Once the school has been registered by a key contact, all staff can register for staff accounts with your school and register their own groups.
- Grow your reading culture! You can browse our resource library and our blog for ideas and inspiration.
- Enter the Challenge
We want to hear all about your reading journey!
Resources and inspiration
In our resources section we have a variety of downloadable and adaptable resources available for staff and pupils, including guides to building and sustaining a reading culture, quizzes, Powerpoints to use in the classroom and activities you can do with your class. Resources can be filtered by type and theme, making it as easy as possible to find something that works for you.
Everyone who registers for the Challenge will also be sent regular email updates about taking part, full of support and ideas. You may unsubscribe from these emails at any time without affecting your participation in the First Minister's Reading Challenge.
Secondary school pupils can download our free Bookzilla app and find their next read today! Built with teenagers for teenagers, the Bookzilla app recommends books based on what the user is into. Heartbreakers or rollercoaster rides, Bookzilla has the perfect read for everyone. Whatever they choose to read, this incredible book monster will help record their reading escapades – from how many books they’ve read, to what they thought about them. You can even share reviews with other Bookzilla users and find out what’s been loved, hated or rated.
Creative Workshops Fund
Creative Workshops offers funding to invite an author, illustrator, storyteller, poet or other creative practitioner (like an artist or filmmaker) into your school to work with pupils. This funding can be a great way to build your reading culture across the curriculum, and you can use some of the funding to purchase books and other resources to support the workshop(s). All secondary schools taking part in the Reading Challenge can apply for this fund, and the deadline to apply is 18 November 2021.
Visit our CLPL page for details of upcoming webinars and local CLPL sessions to help you make the most of the Reading Challenge and give you opportunities to connect with other schools taking part. This page also includes our featured examples of inspirational practice!
Secondary school challenge
Secondary schools can enter the Reading Inspiration Challenge. Challenge submissions will be open on the website in 2021, and you can enter any time before the closing day on 28 April 2022.
We have seen so much inspiring practice from schools, libraries and community groups across Scotland who have found creative and exciting ways to encourage children and young people to discover the magic of reading. This video of our celebration event 2019 shows just what can be achieved by signing up for the Challenge and putting a focus on reading for pleasure each year. Well done to everyone who has shared their reading journeys with us so far!
Reading Inspiration Challenge
This Challenge celebrates the progress your school has made in building a reading culture. Read our Building a Reading Culture in Secondary School resource for practical ideas and advice to get you started.
To enter, we'll ask you to show us how the First Minister’s Reading Challenge has inspired your pupils to read for pleasure. Your entry can focus on an individual pupil, small group of pupils, class, year group or the whole school.
Let us know:
- a description of where you started, what you did and where you ended up
- how you’ve been successful
- lessons you’ve learned along the way to help sustain your reading culture
Your entry can be in any format, from a written document, to a PowerPoint presentation or a video made by your pupils, it’s up to you. You can find more information on entering in the Submission Guide for Secondary Schools.
What should pupils read?
Anything! The Reading Challenge puts a focus on reading for pleasure and children will be more excited about reading if they're reading something that motivates them.
Our blog features book lists submitted by pupils and classes - why not work with your class to write your own book list and send it in to us to be featured on the blog?
If your school has participated in the Reading Challenge before, your key contact can opt-in to this year's challenge quickly and easily. Just log in to your account and select yes when prompted to confirm you want to take part again.
If you need to change to a new key contact, you can contact us by phone on 0131 524 0160 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New key contacts will have the opportunity to order group passports for their school when they register for the Reading Challenge. These are wall charts that can be used by classes or groups to track their reading.
Key contacts can also order group passports at any time from their account page, so if you're opting in to the challenge this year, remember to place your order!
Changing your school's key contact
If you need to change your school's key contact, please just contact us and we will be happy to help you.
The Reading Inspiration Challenge will open for submissions in 2021, and will be open until 28 April 2022.
There is no set format to submit to the Challenge, and we encourage you to tell us your school and class stories in the way that is best for you.