SCBA: How Will You Read the Shortlisted Books?

Many of you will have bought your copies of the shortlisted books, borrowed them from the library or have been very lucky and won a set in the free book prize draw. What’s next? Read them.

That seems obvious, right? But... it is already October *gasp* (I know, where has this year gone?). We just want to make sure that you have plenty of time to read the books before the voting deadline on 5 Febraury. You may even wish to set up a reading schedule or itinerary but hey, we're not going to tell a fox how to catch a chicken, you got this.

But, how will you read? That’s what we want to know. If you’re planning anything different or if you would like to share your reading methods, we’d love to hear what you’re up to. Get in touch, e-mail

If you haven’t started reading yet, don’t worry, but here are some options you may wish to consider to help you along:

Paired Reading

Pair your pupils up to read. Pick a specific day of the week and time of the day for paired reading. At this time your students will use a shortlisted book and read together with their partner. You can either have each student read a different chapter each reading hour, or have each pupil take turns one page at a time; one pupil reads the left side, one the right.

Shared Reading

As part of SCBA, you can take part in a Shared Reading scheme. Unlike paired reading (children of the same age sharing a text), shared reading is a cross age-group, peer-reading model: older readers reading aloud, sharing and discussing the Bookbug Readers shortlist with their younger peers in P1-P3. If you’re interested, you can find out more about this here.

Form a Book Group

This is a quite a good idea if you are taking part in the teen category and reading the Older Reader shortlist. There are many reasons to run a book group but a great one is that it will encourage your teens to not only read the books but discuss, analyse and enjoy them on another level. It's also a great way for teachers and librarians to observe reading habits and encourage further reading.

'I’ve always wanted to form a reading group and thought this was an excellent opportunity to do so as there’s a goal to work towards: a vote for your favourite.' - Marie McGough, school librarian, Clyde Valley High

To discover some tips on how to set up one in your school or library, read the How to Start a School Book Group blog. Last year, Clyde Valley High School in Wishaw formed a book group to take part in the awards. You can find out how they got on and take some inspiration from their journey here.

Mystery Reader

If half way through the process, students' enthusiasm for their indvidual reading becomes a bit stagnant, add novelty by introducing a mystery guest reader. Firstly, have your pupils think, if they could pick someone to read a chapter of the current book, who would it be? Obviously, it would have to be within reason and with some limitation (oh my… wouldn’t we all love it if Michael Fassbender agreed to chip in with a chapter narration of our #CurrentlyReading?!)

Set some realistic options: a lively and dramatic fellow pupil, the principal, a parent, a drama teacher, a local storyteller. Arrange for one of these to visit but don’t tell the children the option that week. Keep them guessing and build anticpation. Then pick a day each week when the mystery guest can visit and read a chapter. This will bring a new voice and a fresh angle and help those who are finding it difficult to complete a full reading. 

Reading Star Board

This is quite a good option for the Younger Readers category and what you use to motivate your pupils to read can also double as a a lovely classroom decoration this school year.

Create a star-studded bulletin board that awards kids for reading chapters, writing chapter summaries and, finally, completing the shortlisted book.

Start by taking a photograph of each child or asking them to draw a portrait of themselves. Title the bulletin board “Star Readers” and be sure each child’s picture is posted. Then, show your pupils how to keep a reading log. In the log, they should keep an account of each chapter they have read and the days they completed the chapter.

Each week, review the reading logs and give each student a sticker for every chapter and every chapter summary they have completed. Your pupils can then put the stickers on the bulletin board. The more they read, the more stickers they get. As the year progresses, the bulletin board will become a physical representation of all that they have read and reflect their achievements.

Reading Corner

Providing your pupils with a comfortable and fun place to read in class will motivate them to grab their books for some independent reading time. It can be as simple as throwing some cushions down with some snacks or being a little bit more extravagant and creating a reading hut. Either way, your pupils will know that this is a spot for reading. Include them in the process of creating the reading den. By doing this, they will know that this is their special and exlusive zone. 

Happy reading! 

Find out more about taking part in SCBA and download learning resources to to help you bring the shortlisted books in your classroom on our SCBA pages!