Nicola Sturgeon expands challenge to get Scotland's children reading

Nicola Sturgeon announces a nationwide roll-out of literacy initiative to secondary schools, libraries and community groups

THE FIRST MINISTER’S READING CHALLENGE, a nationwide initiative to encourage Scotland’s children to read, is to be expanded following a positive evaluation of its impact thus far.

The Reading Challenge, funded by the Scottish Government and delivered by the Scottish Book Trust, offers resources and guidance to Scottish schools in order to promote reading for pleasure amongst children.

Now, more young people will be able to take advantage of the initiative, following a demonstration of the impact of its first year by an independent evaluation commissioned by the Scottish Book Trust.

“I want to ensure the Reading Challenge continues to grow and have a positive impact on children.” First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

The findings of the evaluation were positive overall, with the report concluding: “The First Minister’s Reading Challenge has been overwhelmingly positively received by teachers, pupils and their parents.”

The reported added: “The Reading Challenge has delivered on all of the primary outcomes it set out to deliver… and in doing so has significantly increased the number of children and young people engaged in reading for pleasure across Scotland.”

The evaluation was accompanied by a series of recommendations from the Reading Challenge Advisory Group, which First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced she will accept and implement.

Sturgeon 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.

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“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.”

Responding to the announcement from the first minister, Scottish Book Trust CEO Marc Lambert told CommonSpace: “We are delighted by the opportunity to expand the First Minister’s Reading Challenge into secondary schools.

“Typically, we see a drop in reading rates as pupils move from primary into secondary education. Broadening the challenge will help us address this key issue and to continue to build on the momentum already created by this fantastic initiative.”

Picture courtesy of First Minister of Scotland

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