Using the Bookbug Programme to Engage Schools and Families

The Skoobmobile is an outreach service which promotes a love of reading and playing to children aged 0 – 12 years and their families in Renfrewshire. All of our staff are trained in the Bookbug programme, which incorporates delivery of Bookbug song and rhyme sessions and gifting of the free Bookbug Bags. We have already signed up for the new training, 'Bringing Picture Books to Life,' and we are very much looking forward to taking part and seeing how we can improve our sessions.

The Skoobmobile
Since our launch in April 2015 we have used Bookbug in many different ways to engage families and to promote literacy. We have delivered Bookbug song and rhyme sessions in nurseries, schools and libraries and also used Bookbug to launch other reading initiatives. We find that Bookbug is a great ice breaker and it always puts everyone at ease.

As part of the Skoobmobile programme we work with a school every term to promote literacy. In August 2015 we worked with St David’s Primary. The Head Teacher was familiar with the Bookbug programme and was keen for us to introduce this to her primary 1 pupils. We delivered weekly Bookbug sessions to the primary 1 class over 8 weeks and we really noticed a difference in the listening and participating skills of the children as the weeks progressed. Their class teacher commented that the children would often sing in the classroom!

We visited four more times after the initial engagement period to tie in with the Primary 1 Bag gifting sessions in November. We were able to read all the stories inside the bag to the children and then get them to vote for their favourite in the Scottish Children's Book Awards (now called the Bookbug Picture Book Prize).  The Skoobmobile applied to receive tickets to the Scottish Children’s Book Awards ceremony in Glasgow and we asked St David’s primary 1 to accompany us to the ceremony. It was really great to work with the children to read through all the shortlisted stories and then to tie that in with attending the award ceremony. A truly great experience for the children, their teacher and myself! 

We were asked to carry out another Bookbug session as part of their pre-school transition programme and shortly after that we were asked if we could provide Bookbug sessions as part of their school challenge attainment fund to raise attainment in literacy over the next 4 years. We were delighted to be asked and it’s great to see Scottish Book Trust receiving recognition in schools for such a great programme.

Primary 1 book gifting across Renfrewshire

Laurence, Deborah and Jimi, the Skoobmobile team, with the shortlisted books for the Scottish Children's Book Awards
In November 2015 we distributed 624 Primary 1 Family Bags to children in Renfrewshire and every bag was gifted with a story onboard the Skoobmobile. Part of the remit of the Skoobmobile is to promote play and we have developed Play in the Park where families are encouraged to take part in physical literacy. The Skoobmobile Playworker Deborah put together a Play in the Park session based on one of the shortlisted books, Never Tickle a Tiger by Pamela Butchart. We invited two primary 1 classes from Heriot Primary to join the Skoobmobile at their local park, Durrockstock Park in Foxbar. We read the children the story on the bus and then we went through the park on an activity trail to find the animals from the story. We purchased a snake, a tiger and some sensory materials and peacock feathers and placed them around the park. The children were given activity sheets to fill in. Again, it was a really enjoyable experience for the children and for our team. Our playworker designed a great activity that fitted in well with many aspects of the Curriculum for Excellence.

And of course we registered to vote in the Scottish Children's Book Awards and collected votes on behalf of St David’s Primary, Cochrane Castle Primary, Bargarran Primary, St James Primary (Paisley) and the Mary Russell. 

A toy snake hanging in the trees in a forest area
Family Nurse Partnership

The Skoobmobile was invited to carry out a Bookbug session at the Family Nurse Partnership Event in August 2015. Young mums and their babies were invited to join in the session and then we gifted them with a book to share with their baby. Just last week we met with the Family Nurse Partnership to discuss a pilot programme to promote Bookbug sessions to young mums who are not confidence to join in with larger group sessions in libraries. We hope to start this in August/September 2016.

We have made good use of the resources provided by Scottish Book Trust, especially the old book stock which they kindly give away, which allows us to give out books at events, during Bookbug Week and as part of our bedtime reading programme.

Myself and Deborah attended the Bookbug conference and found it really interesting. We have discussed the idea of something for the dads and we are lucky enough to have two male members of staff, Jimi and Laurence, who would be perfect to engage with other dads. We’re still thinking about this and the only thing that is stopping us for now is the lack of time - watch this space though!

The Bookbug programme aims to engage children and families with the joy of reading and singing together. Find out more at the Bookbug section of our website!

Check out Pauline's other blogs about the Skoobmobile!