Pupils promoting reading at Preston Street Primary School

Splat the villain

Colette Nimbley and pupils from Preston Street Primary School share their experience of promoting reading for pleasure through pupil voice and creative activities.

Our reading ambassadors (by Colette Nimbley)

Our P7 pupils can become Reading Ambassadors, a voluntary role which promotes reading for enjoyment throughout the school. This role is now in its third year, and every year the number of Reading Ambassadors has increased, as has their confidence!

To apply for the role, pupils have to write a letter about their love of reading and why they would make a good Reading Ambassador. These are always fantastic to read.

Two Reading Ambassadors are allocated to each class in the school. Their role in the class is flexible, and they help the teacher promote reading for enjoyment in many different ways, including:

  • Bookbug events
  • Trips to our local library
  • Reading stories to the younger pupils
  • Running events that tie into national reading campaigns

Their role even extends beyond the school itself; some pupils have recently visited the local care home, where they read to the residents as a way of giving back to the local community.

One of their most important tasks to date has been planning an exciting programme for Book Week Scotland 2019.

Our big ideas (by the Reading Ambassadors of Preston Street Primary School)

We meet every week with the staff literacy lead at a lunchtime meeting to discuss events and ways forward, and it was at these meetings that we worked together to plan our Conversations with Genres event for Book Week Scotland. We came up with a wish list of what we wanted to deliver and then pitched our ideas to our Head teacher, who was so impressed that she videoed the pitch!

The week included a highly entertaining Splat the Villain event, with some of us dressing up as villains from children's books and the rest of the school lining up to throw sponges at us - we got totally soaked. We also held a Genre Fair where we took over the first floor of the school and ran a series of events for the Upper School. Each classroom was a different genre, like fantasy, historical fiction, realistic fiction, sci-fi and murder mystery and we created fun activities on each theme. For example, in the murder mystery room we created a mystery for everyone to solve, including different suspects, alibis and clues, while in the sci-fi room one of the activities was creative writing based on having a supply teacher who turned out to be an alien! For the middle school, we ran a comic writing workshop and for the early years we ran a fairy tale event. We also dressed up as characters from children’s books and organised book swaps in the classrooms. 

We were pretty pleased with how the events went: the pupils were engaged in the activities and the teachers were impressed with what we haSplat the Villaind planned and delivered. Our creative activities were appreciated by all.

We also organised a school-wide ballot on our favourite books and series, and almost everyone in the school voted. The Preston Street Primary top five book series are Land of Stories by Chris Colfer, Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan and The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton (these were in joint second place), and The Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney and Harry Potter by JK Rowling which were our joint winners. You could hear the cheers around the school when the winners were announced!

As for our plans for the future, where do we start? We're planning to transform our library into a haven for the joys of reading; use our new podcasting facilities to promote and share excerpts from our favourite books; and explore possibilities for sharing our own short stories too. 

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