Islay book club makes First Minister’s shortlist

Bookberries turned youngsters into super sleuths reading mystery stories.

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A community project fostering the love of reading among primary pupils on Islay has been shortlisted for a top competition.

Bookberries book club was the brainchild of a group of parents who got together to start an after-school club, with support of teachers, to reach even the most reluctant readers.

They now have their own pop-up library and are planning more fundraising events to keep up their good work and keep book pages turning.

The scheme entered The First Minister’s Reading Challenge under the category of Community Culture Challenge and the winner will be officially announced on Monday, June 10.

Bookberries book club has created quite a buzz round school since it started on World Book Day this year, said Hilary Epps who is one of the parents behind it, bringing books to life  with fun story-based activities.

Turning pupils into sleuths to solve mysteries, designing Wonka inspired sweets, thinking up ideas to go into The BFG’s dream jars and making chocolate slime are just some of the activities enjoyed so far.

A £500 grant from the Siobhan Dowd Trust also meant the club could buy some books from the island’s gift shop to start off its own small but brilliant collection and set-up a lending system, improving the school library that had become rather worn and outdated.

‘Taking part in the First Minister’s Reading Challenge was the perfect opportunity to help create a buzz about reading,’ added Hilary.

Keeping fingers crossed for good news from the competition next week, the club is getting excited about its summer sessions to continue their book adventure.

‘Think sea monkeys, mermaids, flying ponies, pugs, wizards, a magical wardrobe and a whole lot more of Bookberries story telling fun!’ said Hilary.