Study Highlights Benefits of Participation in Live Author Events

Francesca Simon with Horrid Henry and school pupils
Category: Press Releases

An independent study commissioned by Scottish Book Trust in partnership with Education Scotland to evaluate the impact of live author events on young people in Scotland has found that teachers believe pupils who participate in the events are more confident and interested in reading and writing activities.

This news coincides with the launch of the second half of the 2012-2013 Authors Live programme which includes special events such as a huge Roald Dahl Day celebration, a poetry slam with some of Britain’s best-loved poets as well as authors Darren Shan, Polly Dunbar and Tony Robinson.

Some key findings of the study include:

  • The biggest impact of the author events appeared to be on the pupils’ enjoyment and interest in reading with 100% of the school staff survey respondents believing the events had an impact. 95%of teachers and librarians also felt that the events had a positive impact on confidence in reading. 
  • Author events appeared to inspire some pupils in reading and writing activities, including an increase in the popularity of reading books and writing short stories amongst both primary and secondary pupils.
  • Teachers believed that the author events had helped both them and their pupils to engage with Curriculum for Excellence experiences and outcomes for literacy.
  • Teachers recognised the opportunities offered by online events – access to world-class authors, involvement of more pupils, and fewer barriers to participation.

Authors Live is an exclusive, award-winning series of free events streamed live over the internet to give young people, parents and teachers an opportunity to interact with some of the world’s leading children’s writers. Run by Scottish Book Trust and BBC Scotland Learning and funded by Creative Scotland’s ‘First in a Lifetime’ initiative, the Authors Live programme was the first of its kind in the UK. The events are streamed live on the BBC Scotland Learning website and can be viewed on demand at Scottish Book Trust.

The Authors Live programme has proved to be a huge success with an audience of more than 500,000 tuning into live events since 2010. The 2012- 2013 programme has so far enjoyed an audience of 80,000 for the first two events and more than 10,000 children are currently registered to watch the Roald Dahl Day celebration planned for 13 September 2012. Registrations for the Dahl Day event are still open to all schools, libraries and anyone with an internet connection within the UK.

Chris Newton, Acting Children’s Programme Manager, Scottish Book Trust, said:

“We have seen first-hand how successful the Authors Live programme is at connecting pupils and teachers with writers and books. To read report findings that teachers believe author events have helped them to engage with Curriculum for Excellence experiences and outcomes for literacy is very encouraging. We are proud to be delivering a programme that has long-term potential to improve literacy and creates a positive attitude to reading and writing.

Emma Turnbull, Development Officer, Creative Scotland, said: 

“Author events play a pivotal role in inspiring young people across Scotland to read and write. A creative event with an author can really open up whole new worlds to young readers and change the way they look at reading forever.”

The Authors Live programme, which launched in March 2010 with poet Michael Rosen, has also featured author of The Gruffalo and Children’s Laureate, Julia Donaldson and award-winning authors Michael Morpurgo and Jacqueline Wilson. Highlights of the 2012-2013 programme include David Walliams and Oliver Jeffers and the year is set to end in style with a special poetry slam on 29 November featuring three of Britain’s best-loved poets – Paul Lyalls, Elspeth Murray and Lemn Sissay. Zom-B author Darren Shan is appearing on 24 January followed by Polly Dunbar and long nose puppets on 25 April with Tony Robinson appearing on 6 June with his Weird World of Wonders.

Notes to Editors:

  • Scottish Book Trust is the leading agency for the promotion of literature, reading and writing in Scotland. It develops innovative projects to encourage adults and children to read and write, supports professional writers with a range of projects including skills development and awards, funds a variety of literature events and promotes Scottish writing to over 10 million people worldwide.
  • Creative Scotland has invested over £1.2 million to create First in a Lifetime opportunities for people to enjoy, or take part in, creative activity. The First in a Lifetime programme will offer many more people the opportunity to see, explore and enjoy a rich cultural life and we have invested in projects that will have a visible and lasting impact.
  • Images of Authors Live events are available
  • Infographics displaying a summary of report findings are also available
  • For full copies of the report, please contact Pauline Kelly.


Pauline Kelly

For media queries please contact Pauline Kelly PR Manager (maternity cover): - 0131 524 0175 – 0778 0724 526