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Reading Challenge aims to support pupils returning to school


By David Porter

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The First Minister’s Reading Challenge has opened for registrations for the new school term.

The Scottish Book Trust will support the First Minister's Reading Challenge.
The Scottish Book Trust will support the First Minister's Reading Challenge.

The challenge is available to all primary and secondary schools as well as community groups and libraries in Scotland, and aims to build positive reading cultures and improve literacy for young people.

Now in its fifth year, the programme is run by national charity Scottish Book Trust and over a third of all schools in Scotland took part in the challenge last year.

The First Minister’s Reading Challenge aims to support teachers and pupils returning to school after lockdown with additional resources and funding.

According to a new report by National Literacy Trust, 3 in 5 (59.3%) children and young people said that during lockdown reading “makes them feel better”.

The challenge can assist schools and community groups to establish regular reading routines and activities as young people ease back into education.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “I launched the First Minister’s Reading Challenge to inspire as many young people as possible to discover a joy of reading.

“Reading regularly not only opens the door to new worlds – it improves vital literacy skills, boosts mental health and creativity and can spark a passion and inspiration which can have a lasting impact on whole communities.

“That is why I want schools and libraries across the country to register for the fifth year of the challenge to help motivate and inspire the next generation of Scotland’s book lovers.”

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said: “It has been a difficult year for both teachers and pupils, and we hope the First Minister’s Reading Challenge will be able to offer support and structure to those returning to school for the first time since lockdown. F

"Funding will also be available to those who register for the challenge, giving classrooms and community groups the chance to organise their own book event.”

Primary schools, secondary schools, libraries and community groups that register for the First Minister’s Reading Challenge will be able to apply for funding to work with an author, illustrator, poet or storyteller.

This may be an in person or remote event, a personalised resource or other partnership.

The deadline for applying is Thursday, November 26.

Applicants will have until the end of the school year to use the funds.

Funds will cover the author fee, travel where necessary and accompanying materials such as books, art supplies etc to help them make the most of the event.

Scottish Book Trust will also host a CLPL session for teachers and librarians called "Get Inspired with the First Minister's Reading Challenge" on Thursday, September 3.

Those who register will have access to best practice from previous years’ winners such as Beancross Primary School in Grangemouth, the national winner for the School Reading Journey.

Other resources for schools and community groups that register for the challenge include downloadable reading passports, classroom resources, book lists and activities available for all age groups.

For more information, registration and funding, visit www.readingchallenge.scot.



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