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Caleb is top of the class after scooping national reading award


By Alan Beresford

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A FINDOCHTY Primary pupil has won a national award for his progress in reading.

Caleb Watt proudly shows off his P6 Pupil Reading Journey award. Picture: Becky Saunderson
Caleb Watt proudly shows off his P6 Pupil Reading Journey award. Picture: Becky Saunderson

June 16 was a date to bookmark for young Caleb Watt when he was revealed as the winner of the P6 Pupil Reading Journey category in the First Minister's Reading Challenge 2020-21.

Thanks to his determination and perseverance Caleb fended off stiff opposition from across Scotland. He submitted a video presentation detailing how he has worked on his reading over the course of the last year which was accompanied by a supporting letter from the school.

Findochty headteacher Dawn Thompson said the whole school were proud of his achievement.

"We're all so proud of Caleb and what he has achieved," she said.

"Caleb lacked a bit of confidence before and this has been a huge boost to his self-esteem.

"It's very well deserved, Caleb has worked really hard and pulled himself up a lot. It hasn't come easy for him but he was determined to read the same books as his peers.

"He's used audio books and done a lot of reading with his mum, too.

"Last year the school got a commended in the reading journey and this year we have won it. The journey keeps on going for us!"

Local councillor and education committee chairwoman Sonya Warren praised Caleb's achievements.

She said: "I'm delighted to hear Caleb has won P6 Pupil Reading Journey category in the First Minister's Reading Challenge 2020-21.

"It's a great achievement, up against pupils from across Scotland.

"Once again Findochty Primary have done very well in this competition and have shown how a small school can punch above its weight.

"My congratulations go to Caleb and the whole school."

The winners of the First Minister's Reading Challenge 2020-21 were announced online by the Children's Laureate and bestselling author of the How To Train Your Dragon series, Cressida Cowell. Now in its fifth year, the First Minister’s Reading Challenge is run by Scottish Book Trust, the national charity changing lives through reading and writing.

The awards recognise the efforts of schools and pupils to support reading for enjoyment and create a reading culture in their school, home or community. All those who submitted this year will receive book tokens, with the winners also receiving a trophy.

Congratulating the winners, Ms Sturgeon said: “Reading is something that always brings me joy, and no matter how I am feeling there’s something to match my mood.

"During the pandemic, it has been a lifeline, and I know it has been for countless others. The reading challenge was launched to inspire as many young people as possible to discover a joy of reading, and I have been so impressed with all the innovative work schools and communities have been doing this year, rising to the challenge of doing this during these extraordinary times, and doing so with great ingenuity.

“Huge congratulations to the winners, as well as everyone who submitted incredible entries.”

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, added: “Congratulations to all our First Minister’s Reading Challenge awardees.

"It’s wonderful to see schools across Scotland reading for pleasure and building reading cultures in the classroom and at home. Thank you to our funders for making this programme possible, and to Cressida Cowell for announcing our amazing winners.

"We hope everyone will enjoy our first ever celebration festival, which can be joined from our website.”

The website can be accessed at https://www.scottishbooktrust.com/learning-and-resources/fmrc-celebration-festival


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