5 quick and easy schools activities for Book Week Scotland

We firmly believe that when it comes to encouraging reading, it's as much about the little things you do as the higher profile stuff. If you're looking to celebrate and take part in Book Week Scotland 2014 but haven't had time to prepare large-scale activities, don't worry: there are plenty of quick and simple initiatives that you can achieve a lot with.

Check out the following five suggestions and see if something takes your fancy!

1. Make recommendation bookmarks

Dead easy: pupils create a bookmark to go inside a book they've enjoyed, saying what the book was about and why they liked it. Staff can get involved as much as pupils if you've got a small library in the staffroom (and if you don't, why not get one set up?). It's a good way to get pupils to think about the purpose and audience for their writing, being careful not to give away too much about a book and working out exactly how to entice a potential reader. Plus, they probably get to use coloured pencils at some point. 

2. Staff book swap

Book Week Scotland is for everyone! Get all staff on board and you're well on your way to creating a reading culture, and this activity is a great first step. Hold your staff book swap in the staff room or library at lunch time, and get people to write bookshop-style recommendation tickets on them. It might be your ideal chance to round up cohorts for a staff book group, and could follow nicely into the next activity.

3. 'I am currently reading'

Every member of staff puts up a sign on their door saying what they're currently reading. Easy as that! It can get pupils talking and reinforces the idea that this is a school where everybody reads. For pupils, you can take a leaf out of Dunbar primary's book and get all of them wearing lanyards or badges saying what they're reading. 

4. Book seeks reader

A cracking one first seen in Inveralmond High School's library, where the librarian found some 'unloved' books and displayed them with a lonely hearts message appealing to a potential reader. These were all brilliant books which just hadn't been borrowed in a while, and the librarian wrote a description of the book, along with the kind of reader it might appeal to. This is the kind of creativity we see from librarians all over the country, and underlines the importance of having a dedicated professional at the helm of the school library.

5. Make a reading pledge

If you and your pupils haven't made a reading pledge for Book Week Scotland yet, it couldn't be easier: just head on over to the Pledge page and make any kind of statement of intent you want. As long as it's related in some way to reading, it's all good: you can pledge to read something, give a book to a friend, join your local library or a book group, or anything else that takes your fancy. Have a look at our Pledge Wall to see what others have resolved to do.

Creating a reading culture in your school is a hugely worthwhile initiative. It can be tough, not to just to convince the pupils, but also other staff, who might be wary of anything that seems like taking on extra work in an already packed curriculum. The thing is that it really doesn't have to be 'extra' or 'work': just let them see you with a book on your desk, talk to them about what you're reading, have books in every classroom related to your subject area and let pupils read them when they've finished working, and anything other things you think will help you show that reading really is for everyone.

So use Book Week Scotland to start something small but ongoing: if you change even one person's mind about reading, you've done something fantastic.

For more ideas to help you create a reading culture, check out our resources, or have a look at other blogs about making your school a reading school. To find out more about Book Week Scotland, head over to the main BWS page where you can find details of events happening in your area.