Statement regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The ongoing situation with COVID-19 and the closure of schools and libraries has had an impact on the First Minister’s Reading Challenge. Please refer to the information below to find out how different aspects of the programme have been affected.

Funding programmes

Schools, libraries and community groups who received funding through our Inspiring Classrooms, Creative Workshops, Library and Community Funds may be impacted in different ways:

  • If you had to cancel a session with an author or other creative practitioner because of the virus with less than a week’s notice, the author or creative practitioner should still be paid and Scottish Book Trust will cover this payment. Authors and creative practitioners should invoice us for this payment.
  • You can reschedule any visit by an author or creative practitioner that has not yet taken place. The deadline for using the funding has now been extended until Friday 30 October 2020.
  • If you would like to return the funding to us instead of rescheduling your visit for later in the year, please contact 

Submitting an entry to the Reading Challenge

We would encourage schools, libraries and community groups to still share their stories with us from this year, although we understand that both the content and format of your submission may be different to what you had previously hoped. The deadline for submitting an entry has now been extended until Friday 15 May 2020.

The webinar planned for 1 April 2020 with Into Film has been cancelled as we appreciate that most organisations will now not be in a position to create a video submission unless they have already been working on one. Video submissions can still be entered for all challenges.

The Submissions webinar planned for 21 April 2020 will go ahead, so please register to tune in if you have questions about submitting an entry. We will provide some tips and ideas for those still wanting to submit an entry which work within our current circumstances.

Celebrating your reading journeys

The way in which we celebrate and showcase your reading journeys will also look different this year.

Unfortunately we have had to cancel our annual Celebration Event, which was due to take place on 1 June 2020 and we will not be able to reward organisations who have submitted with a Party Pack.

However, everyone will receive their participation certificate at the start of the new school year, school re-openings permitting. We will also produce new resources to help you celebrate your reading journeys from home and these will be available to all registered organisations online in May.

We look forward to showcasing your excellent work to build a reading culture in your school, library or community group through social media and, hopefully in future months, through written and video case studies.

Depending on the nature and number of submissions we receive, we will consider the best way to highlight and reward these, which may include choosing overall winners for each challenge or choosing a number of organisations across the challenges to reward. 

Resources and ideas

In the coming weeks, we will continue to post new content on our Twitter account, upload blog posts, send out our newsletters and work on our learning resources to support you and the children you work with. If you have any requests or ideas for content that would be most useful to you at the moment, please let us know on Twitter or by email – we are always happy to hear from you!

You can contact us at or on Twitter @FMReadChallenge with any ideas or queries.

You can also find a range of activities for families to use at home such as sharing stories, taking part in online events and creative writing activities on the Scottish Book Trust website.  

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