Bun Sgoil Stafainn (Staffin Primary School) has received an award from the First Minister in a nationwide competition to encourage Scottish children to foster a lifelong love of reading.
The Skye school was given the Gaelic Medium Education Award by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at the ceremony celebrating the first year of the First Minister’s Reading Challenge.
A total of 12 prizes were awarded at the celebration event at the Corn Exchange in Edinburgh on Wednesday (14 June).
Bun Sgoil Stafainn was awarded the Gaelic Reading Journey prize for incorporating the Challenge into many areas of school life. As the pupils’ enthusiasm grew, they took part in even more extra-curricular reading activities.
The Challenge was a huge success with all of the older pupils taking part in more reading for pleasure, engaging more often with Gaelic literature and having lots of fun with a variety of different books in English and Gaelic.
Taking part in the Challenge has led to an increase in the time made available for reading at school, and the pupils have been encouraged to choose books to read and create displays that show off their increased learning in literacy. The school plan to build on all this in the future.
Jenny Kiss, Headteacher at Bun Sgoil Stafainn, said: “We are extremely proud at Bun Sgoil Stafainn of the response from the pupils to the Reading Challenge and how far reaching its scope has been. Some children have been able to indulge their love of the written word further and others have transformed from reluctant readers to avid readers in the space of a few short months. Every child and adult in the school was willing to join in and have a go, sharing their reading experiences with each other. It has been a brilliant challenge for all of us.”
Speaking after the event, the First Minister said: “The First Minister’s Reading Challenge has been a fantastic success since it was launched last year and it’s wonderful to be able to celebrate a love of reading with so many enthusiastic participants!
“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. By working with guest speakers and charities, the Challenge is bringing the community together in a very unique way.
“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.”
Following the success of the initial year, the First Minister's Reading Challenge is being extended to reach an additional 173,000 children across Scotland. The scheme will now be open to children in Primary 1 to Primary 3, as well as the original age group, Primary 4 to Primary 7.
Marc Lambert, Chief Executive of Scottish Book Trust who run the Challenge, said: "Encouraging reading for pleasure is one of the most important things we can instill in children because we know the benefits are substantial and life-long. 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.
“Each of the Gaelic entries were strong but Bun Sgoil Stafainn had a clear and comprehensive report which outlined their journey, how they’ve progressed and how pupils across the school have engaged with the Reading Challenge. We very much enjoyed their video and presentation of their work and they are very worthy winners of this award.”