First Minister’s reading challenge extended further after success

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A scheme to encourage more children to read books is to be extended after being hailed as a success.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s reading challenge will now include secondary schools, libraries and community groups.

The programme was set up in 2016 and since last year has included all primary pupils from P1-7.

Run by the Scottish Book Trust and funded by the Scottish Government, the scheme encourages children to read as many books as possible, with various awards to recognise progress.

An evaluation found it had been “overwhelmingly positively received” by teachers, pupils and parents and had “significantly increased the number of children and young people engaged in reading for pleasure across Scotland”.

Ms Sturgeon announced the extension at Riverside Primary School in Stirling, which won an award for participating in the challenge.

She said: “Raising attainment is at the heart of  the Scottish Government’s work and reading for pleasure from an early age can help develop children’s literacy.

“That is why I launched the First Minister’s reading challenge and I’m thrilled it has received such positive feedback from schools, teachers and pupils.

“Riverside Primary School is a fantastic example of how schools have tailored the reading challenge to suit their own needs, resulting in a positive reading culture in the school.

“I want to ensure the reading challenge continues to grow and have a positive impact on children so I have accepted all of the recommendations of the reading challenge advisory group which are based on the evaluation and look forward to another successful year of reading.”

The school’s headteacher Kay Robertson  added: “We signed up to the reading challenge to further inspire our children in their love of reading and help us raise attainment and it’s been a tremendous success.

“We were delighted to win the community partnership award last year, recognising the dedication of our staff, children and members of the wider community.

“We’re really proud of our refurbished school library which is used by the children on a daily basis and is also available for members of the community to use to promote inter-generational reading activities.”

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