Youngsters rock at reading challenge

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Rockfield Primary School pupils have been learning just how much fun reading can be.

As part of the First Minister’s Reading Challenge, pupils have been taking part in a number of different activities, which has encouraged them to read for enjoyment on top of reading for their school work.

The challenge has been helped by the new library, which opened in 2017 after a refurbishment and a huge effort from teachers, parents and the wider community. Parents donated money to buy new books and Oban High School pupils even produced artwork for the walls, which has created a vibrant and colourful environment for pupils.

Each class, including nursery pupils, now has a weekly slot to visit the library, where they can take part in different activities, or sit in small groups and read together.

Deputy head teacher Laura Fawdry said: ‘One of the major priorities for Rockfield Primary has been to raise the profile of reading for enjoyment across our school.’

Ms Fawdry hosts a reading group for pupils every Wednesday lunchtime, which she says has been very well attended so far.

Teachers have been making a real effort in the school to make reading relevant to pupils. Primary six are currently in the middle of the ‘Shelfie’ Challenge, where pupils have a shelf next to their picture on the wall, and add the titles of books that they have read next to their name to mark their progress.

This has encouraged pupils to read as much as possible and become more active in their learning.

Youngsters have been working together across all age groups to discover their love for reading.

Ms Fawdry told the Oban Times: ‘Every week, primary seven volunteers take part in paired or group reading with some of the younger pupils, to help them with their reading.’

The staff are just as enthusiastic as the pupils on the topic of reading for enjoyment. One teacher commented on the success of reading at Rockfield, saying: ‘More and more pupils are reading for fun, and this has made a vast improvement on comprehension skills and the pupil’s vocabulary.’

It was clear to see from visiting Rockfield that the pupils were passionate about reading, with some children choosing books based on television shows they have watched and enjoyed.

One youngster told The Oban Times: ‘I watched A Series of Unfortunate Events on Netflix and now I am reading the book, which is different but I really like it.’

Another added: ‘I really enjoy reading at home after school for something to do.’

Raising the profile of literacy and reading has also aided the school in developing some of its current initiatives, namely parent engagement. Some parents volunteer to come into the school to take part in paired reading sessions, which have been well received by teachers and the children.

Ms Fawdry attributes a lot of these successes to the First Minister’s Reading Challenge, whose main aims are to encourage pupils to develop a love for reading, and making it fun in the process.