Nicola Sturgeon’s reading challenge expanded to include secondary pupils

Written by Tom Freeman on 22 August 2017 in News

The enjoyment of reading a major factor in development and life chances

First Minister's Reading Challenge - First Minister's Office

A campaign to encourage reading for pleasure among children is to be expanded to include secondary pupils up to S3.

The First Minister’s Reading Challenge is delivered by the Scottish Book Trust to encourage children to read more widely and develop a love for it.

A successful pilot saw over three quarters of primary schools sign up to the challenge in its first year.

Now a pilot of the challenge will be carried out in six secondary schools across Scotland.


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It includes author visits to schools and ‘dares’ such as leaving handwritten reviews inside library books for the next borrower to find.

Reading for pleasure has been shown to be an even bigger factor in development than parental income, but research shows reading for pleasure drops off as children reach secondary school.

Nicola Sturgeon said: “I am incredibly proud of the success the First Minister’s Reading Challenge has had in nurturing a love of reading for pleasure among Scotland’s young people which is why this expansion to secondary schools is so exciting.

“I am determined to ensure we continue to promote reading as one of life’s greatest pleasures – and that young people reap the benefits of the resulting educational attainment that can be achieved.”

Marc Lambert, chief executive officer at the Scottish Book Trust, said: “The secondary school pilot will focus on a key age group, among whom reading for pleasure can tail off due to the pressures on time that come with high school.”

A 2013 study by the Institute of Education at UCL found reading for pleasure between 10 and 16 boosts vocabulary, spelling and also drives up standards in maths.

This followed data from the British Cohort Study which showed a link between reading for pleasure from a young age and long term educational attainment and social mobility.

A love of books is primarily instilled by parents reading to children throughout primary school, it is thought.

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