The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Enhancing professionalism in education since 1965

19 May 2017

Keeping up momentum for the Challenge at Fox Covert Primary

Lorraine Budge, Head Teacher at Fox Covert Primary School, Edinburgh

At Fox Covert, we were very excited about taking on the First Minister’s Reading Challenge and decided, as a staff, that we would include P1–3 as well as P4–7 as we have a lot of avid readers across the school and didn't want the younger children to miss out on the opportunities being offered.

We decided to introduce a series of whole-school challenges to engage our pupils and get everyone talking about reading. We launched our first challenge at assembly just prior to Christmas. The children were invited to take a photograph of themselves reading and bring it into school, or encourage their parents to share it with us via Twitter or email.

Fox Covert Primary School selfie challenge

The children also gained extra house points by taking part. The next challenge was set after the Christmas holidays and they were given a month to take part. The children were given a special Head Teachers Award badge for getting involved in this one! We shared all of the photos we received at assemblies and created a lovely display to showcase the children's efforts in our foyer.

We held a celebration of all things reading on the week beginning 27 February for the lead up to World Book Day. We decided to have a "snuggle day" when we invited the children to come to school in their cosiest pyjamas and to bring in their favourite soft toy reading companion and a copy of their favourite bedtime story. We provided the children with two more new challenges during this week and decided to link one of them in with our snuggle day. This challenge proved to be even more popular than the first two with lots of children keen to show and discuss their favourite bedtime story. We also had a really encouraging response to our family selfie challenge, with 20 families sharing their photographs, and we aim to continue to build on this in the future.

We had a fantastic book week packed with lots of different exciting reading opportunities. These included:

  • dropping everything to read;
  • creating reading-themed bunting;
  • character model making;
  • buddy reading;
  • reading fun in the sun;
  • a special book-related afternoon tea for nine children with the Head Teacher;
  • a lunchtime reading club;
  • a competition for each class to decorate their classroom door with a book theme;
  • parents visiting to read their favourite bedtime stories to P1–3 children;
  • and plenty of opportunities to ‘snuggle up with a book’.

Our Primary 2 class also took part in their own special reading challenge during this week when their class teacher encouraged them to try and read 20 stories/books throughout the course of the week. The children were so enthused and motivated to take part in the challenge. A good number managed to read more than 20 books and some children who hadn't previously shown any motivation to read were really inspired to start!

Making adverts using iMovie

Our Primary 5 class were very excited when they heard about the First Minister’s Reading Challenge and after much discussion, they decided to link it to their learning about persuasive words and phrases. They were to design and create an advertisement about a novel they had read in class. It was even more exciting when they decided to make this advertisement using iMovie software. It took them around three writing sessions to organise their thoughts, brainstorm ideas, write a storyboard and shoot the film. They wanted to do well because their teacher had told them that she would be choosing one of the adverts to tweet out to our followers on Twitter and it had the possibility of featuring on a blog which other schools could read. Their teacher further motivated the pupils by telling them that it may even be seen by the First Minister herself or the author of the book! The children all really enjoyed the activity and tried their best. The advert that was chosen was by Maja, Jeanie, Daisy and Hannah. It was chosen because they managed to include all of the success criteria given at the beginning of the sessions in their advert.

We have planned nine new challenges as a staff (we had fun brainstorming together) which will be shared and given out to each of our nine classes at our forthcoming assembly in the form of a lucky dip. Our aim is to keep building the enthusiasm and motivation to read for enjoyment and we are keeping track of the children who are taking part in each challenge as we go through the year.

Find out more about the First Minister's Reading Challenge