An Offer I Couldn’t Refuse...

When Scottish Book Trust asked if I thought my school would like to help celebrate Book Week Scotland I didn’t realise just how much interest and enthusiasm the planning stage would generate.  From first mentioning it to my Head Teacher, the whole thing began to take on a life of its own: it didn’t just grow legs – it developed a personality!

Having seen how positively the children responded to past Authors Live events, I decided that this would be an ideal opportunity to get authors, storytellers and illustrators in to classrooms.  With the overarching themes of engaging with Scots language texts and creating an impact that would last beyond the week itself, I was able to involve both the Principal Librarian from Library Services and the Chair of our Parent Council in the planning.  This has further developed into a small ‘planning army’ of pupil volunteers who are just fizzing with ideas for the week! Non- teaching staff  have also volunteered their services to pick up visitors from the local train station – so it is a real community effort.

At the moment, our visitors include the authors Matthew Fitt, Stuart Reid (former pupil of the school... well before my time I might add!) and Alison Mary Fitt.  Mara Menzies, a storyteller, and Elaine Webster from the Scottish Language Dictionaries have also been kind enough to agree to help us celebrate.  In addition, illustrator Kate Leiper will be taking a workshop with some children – so as you can see, we are developing quite a full and varied programme for the week.

We also have parent volunteers lined up to talk about how a love of reading and writing can become a career, focusing on magazine publishing and fitting in nicely with our enterprise targets!  Grandparents are also being invited to come and read to groups of children as part of an event titled ‘When we were wee’, and Library Services staff are coming to train our senior pupils in shared reading techniques so that our younger children will be able to vote and review the finalists for their age group in the Scottish Book Awards.

I would urge all colleagues to get involved in Book Week Scotland: big or small, class based or school wide -- the opportunities for developing creativity, reading for pleasure and hitting more Es and Os than you can shake a bookmark at are irresistible!

Katrina Lucas

Katrina Lucas teaches at Comely Park Primary School in Falkirk, and received Professional Recognition from the GTCS in 2011 for her work in the teaching of Scots.