Children from across Scotland come together in Edinburgh.
Children from across Scotland are participating in the first celebration event for an initiative that fosters a lifelong love of reading amongst Scotland’s young people.
Around 600 Schoolchildren in primary 4 to 7 joined First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at the inaugural First Minister’s Reading Challenge ceremony in Edinburgh.
The Challenge sees young people read from a list of specially-suggested books before filling in a Reading Passport and completing a book report.
An exhibition of innovative and creative work was on display at the event, and the First Minister awarded a total of 12 prizes to exceptional pieces of work.
The standard of entries was very high. Some schools introduced a “Reading Radio” where young people discussed books they had read, while other invited members of the local community, like the lollipop man, to come in and discuss their favourite books. St Blane’s Primary in Blantyre invited anti-sectarianism charity Nil by Mouth in to discuss a book they were reading on sectarianism.
Over three quarters of local authority schools took part in the challenge, with 539 entries in total, including three Gaelic submissions. Every local authority in Scotland took part in some way.
Speaking after the event, the First Minister said:
“The First Minister’s Reading Challenge has been a fantastic success since it was launched last year and it’s wonderful to be able to celebrate a love of reading with so many enthusiastic participants!
“Reading is one of life’s greatest pleasures, and the Reading Challenge is opening up a world of adventure and fun for young people as well as giving them vital literacy and language skills. By working with guest speakers and charities, the Challenge is bringing the community together in a very unique way.
“Developing a love of reading in childhood can have a huge impact on educational attainment and future wellbeing which is why projects like these are so important. I am looking forward to seeing how the Challenge develops in the future.”
Amina Shah, Programme Director at the Scottish Book Trust, added:
“"Encouraging reading for pleasure is one of the most important things we can instil in children because we know the benefits are substantial and life-long. This wonderful initiative is an effective way to support schools, teachers and families to make reading for enjoyment a priority and we are delighted to have a part in its success.”
The First Ministers Reading Challenge was launched in March 2016 and in its first year was open from August 2016 to May 2017 to all Primary 4 to Primary 7 children in local authority and independent schools across Scotland.
Scottish Book Trust manages the scheme, which is funded by the Scottish Government. Schools ordered Reading Passports that pupils used to log their reading journeys, brought authors to their classrooms through fully funded visits, registered their classes to take part in the challenges and made use of book suggestions, learning resources and ideas to encourage young people to develop a love of reading, with prizes being awarded for the most innovative submissions.
The First Minister's Reading Challenge aims to build on the work already taking place in schools across the country to encourage children to read widely, explore a range of books and develop a love of reading. The main focus of the Challenge is to encourage reading for pleasure and support schools, libraries and communities to build reading cultures.
Full list of winners:
Pupil Reading Journey – Primary 4
Luke Grundy, Brisbane Primary School, North Ayrshire
Pupil Reading Journey – Primary 5
Ellie Lenzi, Blackwood Primary School, South Lanarkshire
Pupil Reading Journey – Primary 6
Albey Antony, Bualnaluib Primary School, Highland
Pupil Reading Journey – Primary 7
Primary 7 class, St Blane’s Primary School, South Lanarkshire
Pupil reading the most books
Thomas Macfadyen, Lochwinnoch Primary School, Renfrewshire
School reading the most books
Bualnaluib Primary School, Aultbea, Highland
Gaelic Reading Journey
Bun Sgoil Stafainn (Staffin Primary School), Skye, Highland
School and Community Partnership Reading Journey – national winner
Riverside Primary School, Stirling
School and Community Partnership Reading Journey – local authority winner
South Lanarkshire: Blackwood Primary School and St Blane’s Primary School
School reading journey – national winner
Craigour Park Primary School, Edinburgh
School reading journey – local authority winners
Glasgow: Castleton Primary School and St Martha’s Primary School
North Ayrshire: St Bridget’s Primary School and Winton Primary School