New Deer School wins national reading award

Author Ross MacKenzie presents New Deer School with their First Ministers Reading Challenge award for School Reading the Most Books. Freya and Mia accepted the award along a parent from the school, Angela Verth
Author Ross MacKenzie presents New Deer School with their First Ministers Reading Challenge award for School Reading the Most Books. Freya and Mia accepted the award along a parent from the school, Angela Verth

New Deer School picked up a prize as part of the First Minister's Reading Challenge.

The school won the 'School Reading the Most Books' award.

New Deer School has a role of 99 pupils and they read 2,544 books over the course of the Challenge.

As a school, they have embraced technology in every area of the curriculum, including reading. Children can scan their books in and out of the library at any time, can read their books digitally, and the school uses an online programme to encourage and foster a love of reading.

There is also fantastic pupil engagement, with the PTA supporting their online programme and helping to stock the library. A volunteer parent also works in the library weekly.

Wilma Mutch, Head Teacher, New Deer School said: “We are very proud to be receiving this award on behalf of our young people.

"New Deer children have a real love of reading – the school has a buzz about books and our library is a wee safe haven where children can lose themselves in a book. All the staff at New Deer promote reading in the school and support our children to foster a genuine reading culture in our school."

The First Minister’s Reading Challenge celebration event took place at the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel in Glasgow on Monday, June 10.

Now in its third 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. Schools, libraries and community groups who submitted to the Challenge received a party pack, including certificates signed by the First Minister.

The First Minister's Reading Challenge was launched in 2016 for Primaries 4 to 7 and the third year has expanded to include all primary and secondary schools as well aslibraries and community groups. Scottish Book Trust, the national charity changing lives through reading and writing, delivered this exciting reading initiative on behalf of the Scottish Government and every school in Scotland was invited to take part.

The First Minister said: “I’m delighted that over 1,100 primary schools, secondary schools, libraries and community groups from every local authority in Scotland participated in the third year of the First Minister’s Reading Challenge.

“My warm congratulations to all those who have taken part – the submissions demonstrate that Scotland really is a country of readers, and showcase the hard work of the pupils, teachers and librarians who were involved.

“I launched the reading challenge in 2016 to encourage reading for pleasure, which is key to raising attainment and improving literacy. Even more schools registered for it this year, and it was wonderful to see so many examples of how a shared reading culture can build and improve relationships within a community.”

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said: “Congratulations to all those who took part in the First Minister’s Reading Challenge. Scottish Book Trust was delighted to see so many secondary schools take part in the challenge for the first time. The submissions showcased the fantastic work that schools, libraries and community groups across Scotland have achieved in order to build a reading culture.”

Nineteen schools, one library and one book club were honoured at the celebration ceremony, where prizes were awarded by Ross MacKenzie, author of The Elsewhere Emporium (Floris).

The Minister for Mental Health, Clare Haughey, also joined the celebration event and presented the Reading Inspiration Award. She also toured the showcase, to view the work that schools, community groups and libraries had completed during their journey.