The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Enhancing professionalism in education since 1965

1 Mar 2018

Reading into World Book Day

ailsa-galashan-100x100Ailsa Galashan, Communications Intern

"I spoke with Scottish Book Trust to find out what World Book Day can bring for children and young people"

Scottish Book Trust is an independent organisation, which aims to encourage and promote reading, writing and publishing within Scotland, especially within the minds of young people and children.

Scottish Book Trust coordinates a number of national programmes designed to inspire a reading culture from birth, including Bookbug, the First Minister’s Reading Challenge and Read, Write, Count.

The organisation aims to help schools build a reading culture because reading is key to accessing the whole curriculum and can help support attainment while also being beneficial to wellbeing.

World Book Day

A highly popular event celebrated amongst schools in Scotland is World Book Day.

1 March 2018 marks the 21st year that Scottish schools have celebrated the event.

Independent from organisations such as Scottish Book Trust, World Book Day is a small, registered charity which promotes the celebration of reading and publishing throughout the world.

I spoke to Chris Leslie from Scottish Book Trust about the impact he thinks World Book Day has on young people's enjoyment of reading, and also how this impacts teachers in Scotland.

Chris explained that events such as World Book Day are an opportunity for adults to demonstrate their partaking in reading to young people, and that this can be especially effective, even in secondary schools, where subjects can be more compartmentalised and reading doesn’t always have as high a profile as it does in an English classroom.

“This can be effective, especially within subjects such as PE or Technology as it highlights to young people that all teachers can enjoy reading, regardless of their subject area,” Chris explained.

Within primary schools, many teachers dress up as a book character or encourage pupils to bring in their favourite books from home. This presents to the children that reading can be an enjoyable activity at any age, and that it is always acceptable to have a favourite book, or character.

There is a very wide range of literature for young people to choose from, and the more knowledge that teachers have about what is available to them, the more ability they have to switch children on to reading

Teachers sometimes put a sign on the door with the title of the book they are currently reading. It’s a great way to start discussion – we saw this recently during our filming of the Tweed Reads project at Peebles High School.”

It seems that this discussion about reading is the most important tool to promote literacy to young people, and World Book Day can be the spark that begins this conversation.

Chris also explained to me that World Book Day is an opportunity to present to young people and children that there is more literary choice than what is presented to them through the school curriculum. Although texts which are continually used in schools to expand literacy knowledge, or are read to pass an exam, are very important, it’s essential that young people are aware of the scope of reading choices available to them; World Book Day puts a spotlight on a wide range of different authors, which makes it a great opportunity to discover something new.

“There is a very wide range of literature for young people to choose from, and the more knowledge that teachers have about what is available to them, the more ability they have to switch children on to reading,” he explained.

I was curious to know if events such as World Book Day cause a "reading stir"- both within schools and also within the wider community.

Chris pointed out that although there is sometimes a bigger "reading hype" during certain times of the year, it is important to promote reading as an activity that can be done at any time, and that reading should be continually promoted and celebrated within schools - regardless of any reading events that may spark a larger interest in books.

More information

Scottish Book Trust is continually supporting reading for young people and children. There is a wide range of excellent resources on their website, which could be useful for class preparation during World Book Day or any day of the year.

Find out more about Scottish Book Trust resources here:

 http://www.scottishbooktrust.com/learning/teaching-resources-clpl

Find out more about how your school can get involved with World Book Day, and celebrate reading:

http://www.worldbookday.com/