Stafainn pupils get their eyes on First Minister’s prize

Children at Sgoil Stafainn focus on fun as staff find innovative ways to approach reading.

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A primary school on Skye has been announced as one of the winners of the First Minister’s Reading Challenge 2019-2020.

Despite the school year being disrupted by lockdown, many schools still submitted their challenge, showcasing the excellent work achieved by their pupils and staff with the winners announced online on Monday by Scottish Book Trust, the national charity changing lives through reading and writing.

The Gaelic Medium Education (GME) Reading Journey was awarded to Sgoil Stafainn. Reading for pleasure is at the heart of the school, with staff continually finding innovative ways to approach reading in a way that pupils find fun, all while they gain confidence with the Gaelic language.

This year pupils used the Gaelic alphabet to inspire a great reading project, with new stories to discover for each letter.

Pupils have continued to engage with books while schools have been closed and have responded to what they have been reading with fantastic drawings and reviews. The panel also commented on the commitment to reading and enthusiasm from the P1-3 teacher.

Karen Graham, acting head teacher at Sgoil Stafainn said: ‘Here at Sgoil Stafainn we are extremely proud of everything we have done while taking part in the First Minister’s Reading Challenge and are delighted to have taken part in the Gaelic Reading Challenge again this year.

‘Everyone at our school has worked together to promote a strong reading culture which promotes the Gaelic language and inspires all to read for enjoyment and take a real pleasure from reading and books.

‘We love seeing the benefits this challenge brings in developing the use of Gaelic at our school.’

Now in its fourth year, the challenge encourages children to read for pleasure and develop a life-long love of books. The awards recognise the efforts of schools and pupils to support reading for enjoyment and create a reading culture in their school, home or community.

First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said: ‘It is great to see so many young people discover their own love of reading but also help to bring that passion and inspiration to their friends, families, schools and local communities.’

All winners will receive book tokens and a trophy. The national winners of the School Reading Journey Award, Reading Inspiration Award and GME Reading Journey will also receive funding for an author event from Scottish Book Trust.