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First Minister's Reading Challenge evaluation

Evaluation of the First Minister's Reading Challenge

The First Minister's Reading Challenge is a national initiative helping schools, public libearies and community groups to encourage young people to develop a lifelong love of reading. Schools that take part have access to resources, training and funding opportunities, and can submit an entry for one of our annual national awards.

To assess the impact of the First Minister's Reading Challenge Scottish Book Trust has commissioned independent evaluations every year since the programme began, taking in the views of learning professionals, pupils, parents and carers.

Download full evaluation report

Evaluation showed that teachers used the First Minister's Reading Challenge to support reading in their classrooms in creative ways, including dedicated reading time, book swaps, pupil-led reading and more.

Case study: Dunfermline High School

Dunfermline High School in Fife was keen to focus on literacy for S1-S3 pupils. Staff told us that "reading is fundamentally difficult and challenging for some of our pupils." Learners transitioning up to secondary schools had mixed abilities and staff recognised that not all pupils were able to access the curriculum at the same level, and that improving literacy would help with overall attainment.

Two members of staff attended a Scottish Book Trust CLPL session and commented: "It made it sound interesting, exciting and achievable. And not overwhelming."

The school implemented a 20 minute reading session at the beginning of English lessons to build a daily reading habit. Pupils were able to bring their own books or choose from a selection within the classroom. Teachers curated small class libraries tailored to reluctant readers.

Pupils felt that reading sessions were a great way to relax and transition into "learning mode". Teachers said that learners grew in confidence, developed a more positive attitude to books and were able to concentrate better in class. The atmosphere within the English department is now calm and tranquil, a better environment for engagement and learning.

"It's given us an impetus, focus and the motivation to do things that we had been talking about doing… it was the opportunity to bring all of that together."