Taking part in the #Bookbug Prize in Additional Support Needs Settings

The Bookbug Picture Book Prize is a great project for my pupils to be involved in because it helps to bring reading to life. My students have varied moderate learning difficulties, so reading isn’t something they do easily or necessarily want to engage in by choice. Many do, however, understand the concept of competition and understood that they are involved in choosing a winner! That is exciting!

We are lucky to have an Early Years Teacher who visits us once a week and delivers a Bookbug song and rhyme session. This is how my class were first introduced to each of last year's shortlisted books (you can find this year's shortlist here), one a week over a three-week period. We then read the story every day and treated it like a mini topic, using it as a platform for reading, writing, mathematics, technology and drama.

We drew pictures of our favourite part of each story and rewrote a part, changing the character. With a copy of the book we sequenced the story. We also sequenced some text using flashcards of the words and acted out the events in class. Some other activities included:

Cover of There's a Bear on my Chair


There’s a Bear on my Chair by Ross Collins

The book features a very large bear and a very small mouse! We investigated size, ordering and matching things of different sizes. We also measured our chairs and heights, to see if there was any correlation.


Hare and Tortoise cover




Hare and Tortoise by Alison Murray

In this book, Hare and Tortoise have a race, so we investigated speed and time. We had races, hopping, skipping, running and timing each other.




Shark in the Park on a Windy Day by Nick Sharratt

We made telescopes just like the one used by Timothy Pope in the book, looking for a variety of shapes. We also took them to the park to see if we could see the same things as Timothy.


At the end of the three-week period my children knew they had to vote, although understanding that you can only vote once is a tricky concept. At this point, we read the stories again and looked at the related work around our classroom. With their name label in hand they placed it on top of the book they wanted to vote as their favourite.

Outwith the Bookbug Picture Book Prize, we continue to have Bookbug sessions, hearing a new story each week. As a class we visit a local library at least once a term, giving us the chance to handle books and choose ones to borrow. It is the responsibility of our ‘Book Monitor’ to put the books into our rack in class, keep it tidy and, most importantly, pick which one we will read that day. Bringing our work to a close, I invited the Skoobmobile, Renfrewshire's mobile library service, to visit our school. After a session with them, they gifted us with a bag containing the books.

We had great fun reading the stories in class and taking them home to share with our families. We can’t wait to read the new shortlisted books this year!

Taking part in the Bookbug Picture Book Prize is free and easy, and there's still time to register and vote before the deadline of Friday 8 December. The Prize is also supported by a learning resource with lots of cross-curricular activity suggestions and videos of the authors reading their books in full. You can also check out the rest of our Bookbug Picture Book Prize blog posts to get some inspiration and ideas for using the Prize in school or in the library.

If you teach Primary 1, all of your P1 pupils will receive the Bookbug Primary 1 Family Bag, which contains the 3 shortlisted books in the Bookbug Picture Book Prize. The bag is delivered to schools and gifted to pupils by teachers and librarians. Check out the Bookbug Primary 1 Bag information page to find out more.

Siobhan Fraser

Siobhan is a teacher at the Mary Russell School in Renfrewshire.