Celebrating the Bookbug Picture Book Prize: A Bedtime Stories Project at Troon Primary School

Troon Primary School were our Champion School for the 2017 Bookbug Picture Book Prize. Here Aileen Roan, Depute Head Teacher at Troon Primary, shares all of the brilliant activities which they did around the prize to get their whole school community buzzing about books.

Nurturing Readers at Troon

Exploring new and innovative ways to generate a lifelong love of reading and develop an inspiring and literacy-rich environment for children is always a key priority at Troon Primary. Together with pupils, parents and partners we have been investigating ways to work collaboratively; engaging families together in reading and further strengthening partnership working within the community.

Following feedback from these focus groups it became clear there was a strong desire to work collaboratively and create a similar project to the First Minister's Reading Challenge for the P1 to P3 children. Together we decided to launch a ‘Bedtime Stories Contract’ and approached Scottish Book Trust for help with our plans. We were delighted to be selected as a ‘Champion School’ for the newly launched Bookbug Picture Book Prize. The funding provided by Scottish Book Trust allowed us to launch our project in style!

Bedtime Stories Contracts: Launch Night

All Primary 1 children and their parents were invited to our launch night, which took place early in term 2. With the help of author Chae Strathie and local community support from Costa Coffee and our fabulous librarians, we were able to generate a real buzz about our ‘Bedtime Stories Contract’ and the important role we had to play as a Champion School in the new Bookbug Picture Book Prize.

Primary 1 parents and pupils attended the launch night dressed in their pyjamas, Chae entertained everyone with an amazing, interactive storytelling session and families finished their evening with hot chocolates, marshmallows and chocolate treats all kindly provided by Costa Coffee staff (also dressed in their PJs!). 

Feedback from parents and pupils was fantastic! Everyone was excited and motivated to read together. Bedtime Stories Contracts were sent home to all children in the infant department; together parents and children signed the contact and agreed to read together for a minimum of five nights a week. Primary 1 children then took home their Bookbug P1 Family Bags with the three shortlisted books and started to enjoy and share these together at home. Primary 2 and 3 classes each received ten copies of each title to share together, discuss and enjoy. Additional funding was then used to create a box of suitable bedtime stories to share in class, and at home, to support family engagement. Together we began to nurture our early readers and spark a real enthusiasm for reading together as a family.

Which Book Will Win?

During Book Week Scotland in November, we had a real treat during our infant assembly when we were able to come together and watch each author read their story online. The children loved seeing the authors on screen and were able to happily discuss their favourite parts and who they thought should win! To end the week, a family open day was held throughout the school. Children and families in Primary 1 to 3 used this afternoon to share the stories and vote for their winning title. Our final votes were then cast and our fingers were crossed tightly that our favourite was the overall winner!

Again, we were able to join together as a department at our infant assembly to watch the big reveal… who was the winner? You could hear a pin drop as the announcement was made – we were delighted! Nick Sharratt and Shark in the Park had done it! Our favourite really was the winner! 

However, our love of reading and working together with families does not stop there: the ‘Bedtime Stories Club’ continues to run alongside the senior school's First Minister’s Reading Challenge. Families are fully committed to reading together and inspiring the children to develop a love of reading. In school, classes are fully committed to further engaging children in literacy opportunities with an annual calendar of literacy-focused events in place, including open days, PEEP workshops, Bookbug Sessions, read with me days, Authors Live events and visits to school, library visits and information newsletters linked specifically to literacy, to name but a few. Staff are also committed to the challenge of nurturing readers. CLPL activities are in place and together we are sharing good practice and developing new approaches and strategies to boost and motivate the children.

Overall the infant classes, and Primary 1 in particular, just loved having the responsibility of being a ‘Champion School’. The boost they received from participating in the Bookbug Picture Book Prize has created a lasting legacy as together we build a lifelong love of reading – we can’t wait until next year!

 Find out more about the Bookbug Picture Book Prize here

You can watch Chae Strathie's brilliant bedtime stories Authors Live here

Aileen Roan

Aileen Roan is Depute Head Teacher at Troon Primary School in South Ayrshire