Nicola Sturgeon joins pupils for Reading Challenge

Nicola Sturgeon with pupils at the First Minister's Reading Challenge. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Nicola Sturgeon with pupils at the First Minister's Reading Challenge. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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Pupils from across Scotland have joined Nicola Sturgeon for a celebration of a scheme aimed at creating a lifelong love of reading.

About 600 P4 to P7 school children took part in the inaugural First Minister’s Reading Challenge ceremony in Edinburgh.

The project sees young people read from a list of specially-suggested books before filling in a reading passport and completing a book report.

Ms Sturgeon said: “Reading is one of life’s greatest pleasures and the reading challenge is opening up a world of adventure and fun for young people as well as giving them vital literacy and language skills.

“Developing a love of reading in childhood can have a huge impact on educational attainment and future wellbeing, which is why projects like these are so important.

“I am looking forward to seeing how the challenge develops in the future.”

An exhibition of innovative and creative work was on display, with the First Minister awarding 12 prizes to exceptional pieces.

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Some schools introduced a “reading radio” airing discussions of books they had read while others invited members of the community to come in and talk about their favourite books.

St Blane’s Primary in Blantyre, South Lanarkshire, invited anti-sectarianism charity Nil by Mouth in to discuss a book they were reading on the issue.

More than 75% of local authority schools took part in the challenge, with 539 entries in total - including three Gaelic submissions.

Amina Shah, programme director at the Scottish Book Trust, added: “Encouraging reading for pleasure is one of the most important things we can instil in children because we know the benefits are substantial and lifelong.

“This wonderful initiative is an effective way to support schools, teachers and families to make reading for enjoyment a priority and we are delighted to have a part in its success.”

The challenge was launched in March 2016 and in its first year was open from August 2016 to May 2017 to all P4 to P7 children in local authority, including independent schools, across Scotland.