The P1 Family Bag - how to crank up the excitement

Every year, Scottish Book Trust sends the Bookbug P1 Family Bag to every P1 child in Scotland. Each pack includes the three picture books which have been shortlisted for the Scottish Children's Book Awards (now known as the Bookbug Picture Book Prize). Here, Lindsey Stirling, the P1 teacher at St Patrick’s Primary School in Lochgelly, tells us about how she made gifting the packs a special occasion, and how she made the most of the fun learning activities based on the packs in her classroom.

During Book Week Scotland, the three books provided a rich source of activities for the P1s.

In 2013, I developed a series of activities for the class themed around the Scottish Children's Book Awards* (SCBA) shortlist, leading up to the book gifting at the end of the week. To help the children with reading the books, I arranged for the class to visit the local library where the librarian held a storytelling session and read the books aloud for them. I chose to link the SCBA activities and the pack gifting with Book Week Scotland in November, a time of year when I felt excitement about books was particularly prominent in everyone’s minds.

During Book Week Scotland, the three books provided a rich source of activities for the P1s. For example, What’s the Time, Mr Wolf? by Debi Gliori led nicely to learning to tell the time. The children enjoyed playing games related to the book and learning to tell the time became a much easier exercise. The P1s loved building the Jumblebum monster (based on the hideous beast in Chae Strathie's book Jumblebum) out of recycled materials with help from their P7 buddies. The week of activities really helped to build up the excitement about receiving the packs!

Some of the cardboard Jumblebum monsters made by the children
Primary 1 pupils making monsters with their P7 buddies

Giving out the P1 Packs

The children were gifted their books on the Thursday morning in the gym hall, which had been decorated with the children’s creations. There was also a purpose built post box for the children to cast their vote for the Scottish Children’s Book Awards. Parents were seated in the hall as the children filed in. I introduced the books and told everyone what the class had been doing, and the children described the stories.

A p1 child posting his vote

Shared reading

When all the packs had been handed out, the parents read the books with their children, selected their favourite book and completed the voting slip included in the pack. There was a cosy area set up for children and parents to relax and the stories were read with great excitement and enthusiasm.

After sharing the stories with their parents the children posted their voting slip. The event ended with the parents taking home the packs and the Jumblebum monsters made by the children.

Parents reading with P1 children

Families loved sharing books together

It was nice to be a wee part of what they are doing and read stories with them.

Large numbers of families attended and there was a good mix of parents, grandparents and siblings. The children knew the books well, which helped with the sharing process, and they were keen to talk about the books with their families. A week later we interviewed five parents, who said that the event had helped them to continue sharing books with their children at home. One of them told us that, 'It was nice to be a wee part of what they are doing and read stories with them'.

Knowing their votes counted

When the winners of the Scottish Children’s Book Awards were announced in March the class discussed the results, with many children delighted that their favourite book had won. The Paper Dolls artwork is still on display, and the children ask for the books to be read again, in particular Jumblebum when nursery pupils came to visit the class. They still refer to What’s The Time, Mr Wolf? when revisiting lessons on time. The parents talked about the gifting event at the Parents’ Evening, with one commenting that the Jumblebum monster was still on display in their living room!

Overall, Book Week Scotland 2013 and the gifting of the Bookbug P1 Pack was an enjoyable and memorable event for pupils and their families. 

*The Scottish Children's Book Awards is now known as the Bookbug Picture Book Prize.

Want to know more about this year's Bookbug Primary 1 Family Pack? Click here to find out what's in the pack and when schools can expect to receive them.

To find out more about Book Week Scotland, click here


Lindsey Stirling

Lindsey Stirling is the Primary 1 teacher at St. Patrick's High School in Lochgelly.