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Book Week Scotland and the Reading Hour for Schools (Levels 0-4)
Resource created by Scottish Book Trust
Contents of this resource
Classroom Activities..................3
Whole School Activities.............5
Activities in the Community......10
Useful links.................................13
Book Week Scotland and the Reading Hour
Book Week Scotland is the country’s national celebration of books and reading,
taking place from the 26th November to 2nd December 2012. It provides a great
opportunity for you to get the whole school involved in celebrating the pleasure of
With reading for pleasure at the heart of the new curriculum, promoting enjoyment
and choice in reading is high on every school’s agenda. Book Week Scotland will
give you a chance to focus on the pleasure of reading for its own sake, and
encourage pupils and staff to share their experiences of reading with each other.
The aim of the Reading Hour (which takes place at 11 a.m. on Friday 30th
November) is to get as many people in the country as possible reading at the same
time. This is an easy and fun way to participate in Book Week Scotland, and gives
you a chance to really build excitement and anticipation! In this resource, you will
find a number of ideas to help you make the most of the Reading Hour.
Book Week Scotland is a great opportunity for everyone in a school community to
make time for reading for pleasure – pupils, teachers, school management,
classroom assistants, school staff and families. This is the time to read together,
share favourite books, talk about why reading is important to each of you and most
of all to have FUN!
Many of the activities in the resource are applicable to more than one stage of the
curriculum. To save space in the resource, all of the most commonly appearing links
are at level 3: just remember that most of the activities can be applied at all stages of
the curriculum.
Scottish Book Trust would love to hear about what your school gets up to during
Book Week Scotland! If you have photos of your activities which you would like to
share, please get in touch via our Facebook page or Twitter account – details are
Scottish Book Trust on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/scottishbktrust?fref=ts
Scottish Book Trust on Twitter: https://twitter.com/scottishbktrust
Alternatively, if you want to submit photos via email, or if you would like to write a
blog for our Learning section about what your school is doing during Book Week
Scotland, please email [email protected]
Classroom Activities
Things to do during Reading Hour
Share your Reading Hour recommendations with another school Tch 3-03a,
Tch 3-04a, Lit 3-11a, Lit 3-09a
Your class could confer with another class of pupils at a different school to tell each
other what they will be reading during the Reading Hour. You could set up a GLOW
meet – there are some handy guides here:
Carry out a Reading Hour survey Lit 3-28a, Lit 3-14a
You could appoint a team of pupil researchers to find out what their peers are
reading during the Reading Hour.
Create a Reading Hour challenge Lit 3-11a, Eng 3-27a
You could challenge pupils to find ‘quick reads’ - books from the school library which
can be read in an hour. They could then write a quick synopsis of the book and
everyone’s quick reads could be compiled into a leaflet or poster full of
Things to do throughout Book Week Scotland
Register your class to vote in the Scottish Children’s Book Awards Lit 3-11a
It’s free and easy to register your class to take part, and we have a set of great
teaching resources for each age category! Find out more at
‘If you liked this book, try…’ bookmarks Lit 3-11a, Exa 3-06a
This is a great idea from the National Literacy Trust! Pupils can create bookmarks to
1 By submitting photographs, you are consenting for these to appear in a gallery
of Book Week Scotland images on Scottish Book Trust’s website and Facebook page.
leave inside books when they return them to the library. On the bookmarks, they can
put their book recommendations to other readers. They can recommend other texts
by the same authors, or other texts of the same genre:
Create a River of Reading Lit 3-11a, Lit 3-28a
Pupils are often unaware of the extent to which they read. Creating a “River of
Reading” with them can help open their eyes to how much reading they actually do.
Get them to draw two wavy lines representing a river, and in between the lines ask
them to write down everything they read over (for example) one week. This must
include functional reading like bus timetables, cinema tickets and instruction
manuals. After one week, they should have a clear illustration of how big a role
reading plays in their lives.
Having a greater awareness of the choices they have made as readers can help
pupils to choose their future reading.
You can choose to model this process to your pupils by creating your own River of
Poetry Vandalism Eng 3-31a, Lit 3-20a
Poetry Vandalism is a great idea which allows pupils to discover poetry in unusual
places! Have a look at this blog on Scottish Book Trust’s website, which gives more
detail: http://www.scottishbooktrust.com/blog/learning/2012/05/poetry-vandalism
Write a letter of recommendation lit 3-11a, Eng 3-19a, Lit 3-29a
Ask your pupils to pick a book they like, and imagine that it has not yet been
published. They can imagine they are a literary agent, writing a letter to a publisher
trying to convince them to publish the book. They can focus on the following areas:
Why the book will appeal to its target audience;
What it is about the book that makes you want to keep reading;
How well constructed the characters are;
How rich the setting is.
Compile a list of recommendations for the library Lit 3-11a (Lit 4-11a if pupils are
able to independently find a website or other source)
You can ask pupils to compile a list of possible books for the library to bring in next
year. The following websites should help to start you off:
Pan MacMillan children’s books: http://www.panmacmillan.com/childrenshome
Hodder: http://www.hodderchildrens.co.uk/
Carnegie Medal for Children’s Fiction:
My Favourite Books – Teachers are readers too! Lit 3-11a, Lit 3-09a
Start each day or each lesson by reading a short extract from one of your favourite
books and share with your class what you particularly like about it. Ask them which
of their favourites they like for similar reasons.
Book openings Lit 3-11a, Eng 3-27a
The opening few sentences of a book are what really draws the reader in. You could
get your pupils to suggest their favourite openings, and hold a class vote on which is
the best. This task could also be extended through the whole school, and you could
put a twist on it by asking pupils to write their own openings.
Whole School Activities
Things to do during Reading Hour
Create a poster for your event
You can use Scottish Book Trust’s Book Week Scotland poster to advertise your
event. The poster has an empty space for you to fill in the details of your event. Just
go back to the same page you downloaded these resources from and you’ll find the
Create intrigue about the Reading Hour Exa 3-06a, Eng 3-27a
You can build excitement and anticipation about the Reading Hour by basing your
activities around the idea that something big is happening, but not telling the pupils
what it is!
You could appoint a Reading Hour committee of pupils who can design a campaign
designed to build intrigue. This could include posters or short videos.
Spreading the word about the Reading Hour Lit 3-11a, Tch 3-03a, Tch 3-04a
Your pupils could design posters for the Reading Hour to display around the school.
To help other departments engage with the Reading Hour, your pupils could design
posters specifically for other teachers to fill in, along the lines of, “The book I will be
reading during The Reading Hour is...”.
Your pupils could also set up a blog about the Reading Hour, and share their
experiences with another school. Secondary pupils could find texts suitable for
primary pupils and then make recommendations to primary teachers through the
blog. You can find a guide to getting started with GLOW blogs here:
Bring the whole school together for Reading Hour Lit 3-11a
If you are a reasonably small school why not all get together in the hall to share
reading hour? You could all read your own books, or different classes could share
favourite books with one another, or older pupils could read with younger buddies.
If you are a large school where a whole school gathering is difficult, could you share
Reading Hour as a year group?
Things to do throughout Book Week Scotland
“I am currently reading” badges Lit 3-11a, Exa 3-06a
You can ask everyone in school – including all staff and any visitors – to wear an “I
am currently reading” badge. You could get pupils to design their own badges
following this guide: http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Badge-Pin
Use an Authors Live video! (CFE outcomes will vary depending on the activities
which come out of this)
Scottish Book Trust’s Authors Live program is packed full of great videos for you to
watch again with your pupils. Have a look through our Watch on Demand section for
authors you think your pupils will love! http://www.scottishbooktrust.com/watch-ondemand
For ideas on how to use the events, have a look at this video in our CPD section, in
which a school plans a day of activities around Francesca Simon’s Horrid Henry
event: http://www.scottishbooktrust.com/learning/CPD/toolkits/engage-whole-schoolwith-authors-live-event
Set up a pupils’ reading group and create book lists Lit 3-11a, Lit 3-28a
You could involve a pupils’ reading group very closely in Book Week Scotland by
asking them to compile book lists! Take your cue from the Rapid Readers group at
Carluke High, who put together lists of books such as “ The books we couldn’t put
down”, “Books that we’d like to be made into a film”, and “Saddest books”:
If you have school radio, you could set up a radio programme dedicated to
celebrating the pupils’ favourite books. The following links should provide some
ideas, inspiration and guidance:
Sandaig Primary’s podcasts:
A collection of resources helping you to make your own podcast:
Podcasting advice from Teaching Ideas:
SBT’s Book Talk podcast on The Hunger Games, featuring pupils from Holyrood
High School: http://www.scottishbooktrust.com/booktalk/the-hunger-games-the-echochamber
Duncanrig High School’s account of setting up a radio broadcasting project:
Design new book jackets for books in the library Lit 3-11a, Exa 3-03a
You could ask pupils to design new jackets for their favourite books, or even books
which they feel need a better cover! You can build in lots of discussion about what
makes a good cover, and then let the class judge whose cover is best.
Organise a school reading committee Lit 3-11a (Lit 4-11a if pupils are able to
independently find a source of book recommendations)
You could take volunteers (or even hold elections) for a reading committee, which
can decide on activities. The committee could contribute book recommendations for
different genres (you could appoint each member of the committee to the role of an
expert in a particular genre). They could broadcast this through a school newsletter
or magazine, or through school radio.
The committee could create displays for the library and be in charge of keeping the
displays up to date with new recommendations.
Reading Assemblies Lit 3-11a, Lit 3-09a, Lit 3-02a, Lit 3-03a, Lit 3-01a
Assemblies are the ideal opportunity for you to promote books. Ideas can include:
A book recommendation section, where a pupil or staff member can
recommend one of their favourite reads;
A GLOW meet with a literary character (one of the teachers in disguise);
A GLOW meet with another school, sharing recommendations;
A ‘most despicable character’ trial! You could hold a school vote on the most
despicable character ever to appear in a children’s book, and then hold a trial
where all the evidence is considered. You can get pupils to call out with their
evidence, and then shout for the character they think should be convicted...
Invite a local writer or illustrator to the school (CFE outcomes will vary
depending on the activities which come out of this)
The expertise and enthusiasm of professional writers can help you to deliver some
great projects in school! Have a look through our database to find the right person for
you: http://www.scottishbooktrust.com/author-search
Our Learning Blog and LLF in action Blog both have some great examples of what
can be done with the assistance of a professional artist.
Staff interviews Lit 3-09a
You could get pupils to interview other members of staff about their favourite books.
Questions could include:
What was your favourite book as a child?
Are there any books you would recommend to pupils?
What’s the best non-fiction book you’ve read recently?
How do you choose the books you read?
What was the last book you read but didn’t finish?
Change names (outcomes will vary but may include: Exa 3-06a, Exa 3-03a)
You can change the school’s naming system for Book Week Scotland! Use the
names of literary characters as your names for houses, teams and rooms. For
instance, your pupils could transform the school into Hogwarts for a week, making
posters with the rules of Quidditch for the sports hall, painting pictures of pupils’
favourite selection from the moving paintings found in Hogwarts, and much more!
Check this link for inspiration: http://oakton.patch.com/articles/viewfinder-seniorprank-turns-school-into-hogwarts#photo-5810368 You can also ask pupils for their
Set up a teachers’ reading group
A reading group can help readers of all levels of engagement to develop their
reading. Again, the free Teachers as Readers ebook on the Scottish Book Trust
website can help to provide ideas to get the most out of a reading group:
Create booktrailers and display them around the school Lit 3-11a, Tch 3-03a,
Tch 3-04a, Eng 3-19a, Eng 3-27a, Lit 3-24a
Booktrailers are a great tool for engaging pupils with reading and developing digital
literacy. Scottish Book Trust has created a series of Booktrailer Masterclass videos
which tell you all need to know to get started:
You can see a video of how booktrailers work in the classroom, and how they can
develop critical thinking, in this video on the Scottish Book Trust website:
If you have large screens around the school, you can run pupils’ trailers to help build
excitement about books.
Drop Everything and Read Lit 3-11a
As a shorter version of the Reading Hour, you can institute a Drop Everything and
Read scheme at a set point in the school week.
Hold a whole school book swap Lit 3-11a
You can ask pupils to bring in books they are finished with and hold a book swap.
This event could be extended to parents and the local community.
Hold a whole-school reading quiz Lit 3-11a, Lit 3-14a
You could make up quizzes for pupils of various age groups, asking questions about
the content of different books which they can borrow from the library. If there are a
lot of questions from a lot of different books, pupils could do the quiz in teams, each
team member reading different books.
You could involve your local library in this task by asking them to bring in additional
copies of books.
It may be an idea to do some research to make sure the information you are asking
for in the quiz questions is not available on the internet! It will help if you use books
which are slightly less high-profile than (for example) The Hunger Games or Twilight,
as the plot details of these books will be easily obtainable online.
Stage a book hunt! (CFE outcomes will depend on the tasks you set)
Place books in hidden locations around the school. When pupils find them, you can
attach a written task to the book. For instance, if you hide a copy of a book on a
famous footballer in one of the school sports areas, you could attach a task which
asks pupils to write a summary of the player’s early life.
You can give prizes out to each pupil who finds a book and completes a task!
Activities in the local community
Things to do during Reading Hour
Hold a Reading Hour event in the local library Lit 3-11a, HWB 3-12a (other
outcomes depend on activities)
Your pupils could do a lot of the activities in this pack with a local library – creating
bookmarks, organising book displays, holding quizzes, etc.- and centre these
activities around the Reading Hour.
Contact your local librarian and see where they could use a hand! Your pupils could
organise a “book party” for members of the community. Older pupils could guide
younger pupils round the library, explaining how to use it.
Visit a local nursery for Reading Hour Lit 3-11a, HWB 3-12a, HWB 3-13a
Ask your pupils to spend Reading Hour reading with pupils for a local nursery. You
could arrange for your pupils to visit the local nursery to give out books. If your pupils
have a particular favourite picture book, see if you can arrange for them to donate
their copies, or alternatively raise funds to buy some new ones. Book Week Scotland
is happening close to Christmas this year and this might make for a great gift for
nursery children.
Things to do throughout Book Week Scotland
Interview members of the community Lit 3-09a, Lit 3-14a, Lit 3-25a, HWB 3-12a
Your pupils could visit members of the local community to find out about their
favourite books. If they film the interviews, they could compile the footage into a
video project.
Your pupils might also want to design a survey to find out what people like best in a
good book, or to find out the community’s top 10 reads.
Raise funds to send books abroad Lit 3-11a, Lit 3-14a, HWB 3-12a, HWB 3-13a,
HWB 3-14a
This is an excellent opportunity to get pupils working on enterprise activities. They
will need to think about the following questions:
How will they find a school to donate books to?
How will they decide which books to send?
How will they get the books? Will they aim for second-hand books, or new
ones? If they are buying books, how will they raise the money?
If they are raising money, how will they raise awareness and promote their
campaign? How can they get as much of the school as possible involved?
How will they arrange delivery of the books?
How will they let the rest of the school know how the project turned out?
The Pelican Post website (http://www.pelican-post.org/index.php) actually helps
pupils deal with a lot of these questions by sourcing a school and giving instructions
for delivery. It’s up to you whether you want to direct them to this website, or let them
start from scratch.
It doesn’t have to be another school either – you might want pupils to concentrate
their efforts on getting books for their local hospital, nursery or any other worthy
Hold a celebration of books with parents and pupils Lit 3-11a (Lit 4-11a if pupils
are able to independently find a source of book recommendations), HWB 3-13a
You can invite parents and pupils in for an evening of book-related activities. You
may want to ask pupils to think of a programme of entertainment for the evening.
There are different possibilities: you could ask senior pupils to put together the
evening for younger pupils and their parents, for example.
The pupils will probably need to think about the following questions:
How they will collect numbers for the event;
How they will organise catering;
Who will introduce the evening;
Whether they need to make up a programme for attendees;
Whether they want to organise any competitions (writing competitions
organised beforehand and judged on the night, book review competitions,
voting for favourite first lines, etc.) and whether they need to source prizes;
What kind of activities will help to promote books (booktrailer screenings,
book readings, video reviews, etc.).
Hold a book themed lunch HWB 3-12a
You could put this on yourself, or ask older pupils to put a lunch on for parents or
members of the community.
For younger pupils, you can create a themed menu, changing the names of dishes to
ones found in children’s books. Roald Dahl’s Revolting Recipes is a great starting
Record a book podcast for hospital radio Lit 3-11a, Lit 3-09a, HWB 3-12a, HWB
Your pupils can approach a local hospital to spread the word about their favourite
books. Depending on the format used by the hospital, the pupils can either record a
podcast first or broadcast their show live.
You can refer back to page 6 for advice on creating podcasts.
Useful links
Websites to find out about new books and poetry
Site name
Searches for
books based on
your preferences
for Lads
A blog full of book
for boys
My Best
Friends are
A blog featuring
news and
SPL’s site allows
you to browse
poetry by tags
News, interviews,
competitions and
reviews for teens!
Scottish Book Trust resources
There are many more resources on our website which can help you build excitement
about reading in your school – these ones should give you a great starting point.
How to Adapt
Picture Books
into Drama
A guide, including a full kit list,
for adapting picture books into
Teachers as
Readers free
This book details a project
which asked 12 teachers to
investigate how they could
model their reading behaviours
to pupils
Authors Live
Recordings of live author
events for all ages, run by
Scottish Book Trust and
recorded at the BBC
A series of videos explaining
what a booktrailer is and how
to make one
Book Awards
Scotland’s national children’s
book awards – register your
class to take part!
Live Literature
Apply for funding to finance a
visit from a writer or illustrator
to your school