We signed up for the First Minister’s Reading Challenge in September 2017 and have been on a very rewarding journey ever since! We have made lots of changes in the school to encourage a love of reading and held many exciting events to motivate and inspire children to read purely for pleasure.
The main challenge we set ourselves was to build a positive reading culture, so our first step was to establish the current reading culture by issuing the children with a survey. Staff also engaged with some academic research which highlighted the impact that reading for pleasure could have on learning and achievement:
- Increasing children’s engagement in reading could mitigate 30 per cent of the attainment gap. (Sosu and Ellis, 2014)
- Reading for pleasure has a greater impact on a child’s success at school than their family’s socio-economic status. (OECD, 2002)
These statistics inspired staff to engage with the challenges set out in the First Minister’s Reading Challenge.
Staff agreed a number of steps to be implemented throughout the school.
- All classes and staff to participate in Drop Everything and Read
- Every class to have a recommendations wall
- Reading is discussed and celebrated during assemblies
- Lunchtime book groups and reading clubs.
- All classes to display current reading on badges/door signs/lanyards
- Regular use of the school library by all classes to be timetabled at least once per week
- Reading Ambassadors to be appointed
- Competitions and prizes promoting reading offered
There were a number of events organised throughout the year to further embed a positive reading culture – here are a few of our highlights!
P4/5 Reading Breakfast
The children in Primary 4/5 held a reading breakfast for the younger children in the school. They provided breakfast foods and invited parents to come along and share a healthy breakfast and some stories with their children. Our local librarian also came along and read to some of the children too. It was a fun and inspiring way to encourage children to read and eat healthily!
Book Week Scotland
Each class was paired with another to become reading buddies. They spent some time reading books together and discussing favourite books. They then completed a book treasure hunt, with P6 taking the lead by escorting and supervising the pupils. Each class also watched an Authors Live event from Scottish Book Trust.
We appointed two reading ambassadors per class to encourage and inspire reading for pleasure. The reading ambassadors had responsibility for overseeing competitions in their classrooms and for disseminating information to other pupils. They loved having this responsibility!
World Book Day 2018
World Book Day was the opportunity to enjoy and celebrate reading. Pupils dressed up as their favourite book character or in pyjamas. Every class had an opportunity to cuddle up with a good book in a relaxing, comfortable space.
We also held a Book Swap and were able to augment the books that were available for swapping with a donation from the local library which allowed us to ‘gift’ every child a book to take home and enjoy! This was a big hit!
We also organised a Sponsored Read which drew to a close on World Book Day. The pupils attempted to read 10 books in 10 weeks and all money raised was used to refresh the school and class libraries.
Big Book Blether
Primary 6 and 7 participated in a Big Book Blether. This was an opportunity for children to discuss their favourite books in a speed dating style. Pupils had 2 minutes to recommend a book to a partner before moving on. Prizes were issued to pupils who ‘sold’ their book to the most people.
Where we are now
Bankhead Primary have been on an amazing journey! We have a come a long way and can now safely say we have a very positive reading culture in the school! The way in which the Reading Challenge was implemented and the measures taken within the school has made sustainability of the reading culture more easily achievable. We hope to continue to build on our reading culture, after all…
"Today a reader, tomorrow a leader" Margaret Fuller
How far has your school come on your reading journey? Tell us all about it in whatever format you choose by entering the School Reading Journey Challenge by 2 May. Follow this link to find out more about submitting an entry.