First Minister's Reading Challenge School Reading Journey Awards

Our first ever celebration event for the First Minister’s Reading Challenge saw schools from across Scotland showcasing all the wonderful work they have done for the Reading Challenge this year. First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, presented a total of 7 prizes to celebrate schools' reading journeys and we are delighted to announce our winners:  

North Ayrshire won a School Reading Journey – Local Authority Award for submissions by two of its schools: St Bridget’s Primary School and Winton Primary School. Both schools ran a huge number of events and projects that engaged with the whole school and were led and developed by what pupils wanted. Both staff and pupils invested time and effort in the Challenge, making incredible progress with their reading committees and strengthening links to their local libraries.

Glasgow schools Castleton Primary and St Martha’s Primary won a School Reading Journey – Local Authority Award for the incredible progress they made in the reading culture of their schools by taking part in the Challenge. Both schools strengthened links to their local libraries and used the Challenge as a springboard to encourage more reading for pleasure among pupils across the school and involve their local communities.

Craigour Park Primary School, Edinburgh, won the School Reading Journey – National Award for their impressive approach to the Challenge, including innovative initiatives such as the Reading Radio, Family Bedtime Stories and parental involvement through family reading tasks, as well as lots of community and whole school engagement. The school invited guest readers from the wider school community, such as the crossing patrol man and judo instructor, to show pupils that reading is something everyone enjoys; photos supplied by staff of themselves reading in unusual locations were posted round the school; and a home learning competition to design school reading mascots engaged families with the Challenge. Commenting on the school’s win, Head Teacher Carol Cameron said, “We are absolutely delighted to receive this award in the first year of the Challenge. We found the Challenge to be hugely motivating and have enjoyed harnessing the creativity in our school to embrace the Challenge in our own unique way. It has been lovely to see the increased enthusiasm and engagement in reading for enjoyment across the school. We look forward to building on this success in the future.”

Bun Sgoil Stafainn (Staffin Primary School), Highland, was awarded the Gaelic Medium Education School Reading Journey Award for incorporating the Challenge into many areas of school life. As the pupils’ enthusiasm grew, they took part in even more extra-curricular reading activities.The Challenge was a huge success with all of the older pupils taking part in more reading for pleasure, engaging more often with Gaelic literature and having lots of fun with a variety of different books in English and Gaelic. Jenny Kiss, Headteacher at Bun Sgoil Stafainn, said, “We are extremely proud at Bun Sgoil Stafainn of the response from the pupils to the Reading Challenge and how far reaching its scope has been. Some children have been able to indulge their love of the written word further and others have transformed from reluctant readers to avid readers in the space of a few short months. Every child and adult in the school was willing to join in and have a go, sharing their reading experiences with each other. It has been a brilliant challenge for all of us.”

South Lanarkshire won a School and Community Partnership Reading Journey – Local Authority Award to recognise the work of St Blane’s and Blackwood Primary Schools. They undertook an incredible amount of work that had lots of visible impact. The activity at St. Blane’s was led predominantly by their Primary 7 pupils, showing the engagement and enthusiasm they had for the Challenge. Blackwood P6 pupils lead an enterprise topic, working with P4 to P7 pupils to raise funds to design and create a reading area in the school garden.

Riverside Primary School, Stirling, won the School and Community Partnership Reading Journey- National Award for their initiative. The school already had a good reading culture and so focused on growing and strengthening links with libraries and partners in the wider community. They organised visits with authors and libraries, ran workshops and instigated book gifting events and book clubs. Riverside used a variety of ways to record and engage with the Challenge, from stories and presentations, to social media and video. Mrs Kay Robertson, Head Teacher at Riverside Primary commented, "We are absolutely thrilled to receive this Community Partnership Award. We encourage a lifelong love for reading in Riverside for all our children. This reflects our commitment to excellence in education and to children having skills which will enhance their opportunities in their future lives. Our approach has been driven forward by our children, in particular our Reading Ambassadors, who have worked enthusiastically with our Depute Head Teacher, Mrs Chrissie Gemmell, who has been inspirational in her leadership of this initiative."

Bualnaluib Primary School, Highland, was awarded the School Reading the Most Books Award at the event. The school’s nine pupils managed to read 470 books between them during the Challenge, an average of six and a half books per pupil each month!

We would like to congratulate our very worthy winners and thank them for sharing their inspirational practice for the First Minister’s Reading Challenge. We are very much looking forward to following their reading journeys next year as they continue to build on all their hard work!

Here is a full list of this year's First Minister's Reading Challenge winners

First Minister addressing the awards ceremony audience