A scheme to encourage literacy and a love of reading in young people is being expanded to secondary schools across Scotland.
The First Minister’s Reading Challenge will now be piloted up to S3 in six schools across Scotland.
Earlier this year the First Minister announced that the scheme was being rolled out to all primary school children, following a trial year among P4-P7.
More than three quarters of all local authority primary schools in Scotland signed up to the First Minister’s Challenge in the first year of it being introduced when it was offered to older primary school children.
Research shows reading for pleasure drops off as young people reach secondary school and the expansion of the scheme is designed to ensure young adults continue to enjoy reading long after they have left primary school.
Speaking during a visit to one of the pilot schools, St Andrew’s and St Bride’s High School, the First Minister said:
“I am incredibly proud of the success the First Minister’s Reading Challenge has had in nurturing a love of reading for pleasure amongScotland’s young people which is why this expansion to secondary schools is so exciting.
“I am determined to ensure we continue to promote reading as one of life’s greatest pleasures – and that young people reap the benefits of the resulting educational attainment that can be achieved.”
Michael Wilkie, Literacy Coordinator from St Andrew’s and St Bride’s High School, said:
‘We are absolutely thrilled to be part of the First Minister’s Reading Challenge. Reading has been such an important aspect of our plans for raising attainment in the last few years, and this exciting initiative will be the drive to expand reading for pleasure across the entire school community. Plans are already in progress to engage parents to help their children be the best readers they can be, to support staff across the curriculum to confidently teach and assess reading, and to give pupils as many opportunities as possible to pick up a book and get reading. With an active and enthusiastic literacy committee and pupils who thrive on reading, we are certainly up for the challenge.’
Marc Lambert, CEO at Scottish Book Trust, which runs the programme, added:”This expansion of the First Minister’s Reading Challenge builds on the huge success of its first year and opens up the joy of reading for pleasure to all primary children. The secondary school pilot will focus on a key age group, among whom reading for pleasure can tail off due to the pressures on time that come with high school.
“The Reading Challenge will focus attention on this, giving pupils more opportunities to share and celebrate what they love reading, delve deeper into writing and discover different ways to enjoy books.”