Our First Minister's Reading Challenge Showcase!

From the very start of this year’s First Minister’s Reading Challenge we have been blown away by the innovative ideas and the level of commitment we have seen from schools across Scotland. Our celebration event, therefore, would not have been complete without a showcase of this inspirational practice. It was the perfect opportunity to celebrate schools’ achievements and share their wonderful work with other practitioners. Everyone who attended the event left with ideas aplenty for ways to build their reading cultures further for next year’s Challenge!

As well as the beautiful display tables, what made the showcase so special was the input from teachers and the pupils themselves. It was a joy to hear them talk so animatedly about their reading experiences (when they weren’t expertly solving the riddles for our reading treasure hunt!) and see them taking a real pride in their schools’ reading journeys. Teachers were delighted at the confidence their pupils displayed and, indeed, for many, speaking at such a large event was a significant achievement and something that they will never forget.

What really struck me about the whole event was the feeling of energy and excitement, all because of reading. Not only were teachers connecting with other schools, excitedly talking about their plans for next year and ways they could link up and share their ideas, but their pupils were doing the same. One child called the experience "truly magical" and said that their favourite part of the whole thing was being in a room with other children who loved reading as much as they did. What more could we ask for?

Below is a gallery featuring each of the displays from our showcase schools and a brilliant round up of ideas for ways to ignite a culture of reading, from setting up a reading radio, to organising a sleepover in your local library! We’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who attended to share their love of books and celebrate the positive impact that reading for pleasure has had on Scotland’s children.

With next year’s Challenge open to P1-3 as well as P4-7, now is the perfect time to start planning, and if you would be interested in showcasing your school’s achievements at our next celebration event, keep in touch with us throughout the year and let us know what you’ve been up to. A very special thank you must go to Our Lady's Primary in Dundee who acted as our trailblazer school this year by sharing everything they did for the Reading Challenge on our blog, including their planning documents, to inspire others!

Jen Harwood is the Outreach Coordinator at Scottish Book Trust for the First Minister’s Reading Challenge. Prior to that, she was a primary school teacher. If you would like to be featured in a blog post about what you have been doing to encourage reading for pleasure, contact Jen at Jennifer.Harwood@scottishbooktrust.com.

Nicola Sturgeon with students at the FMRC event