Shared Reading at Castleton Primary School

Heather Stirling and Ainsley Rogers are teachers at Castleton Primary. They set up a shared reading project to get other year groups involved in gifting the P1 bag and voting for the Bookbug Picture Book Prize. The Deadline for the Bookbug Picture Book Prize is Thursday 6 November - don't forget to cast your vote!

Castleton Primary is a brilliant wee school in the south side of Glasgow where every member of staff does their absolute best to help support our pupils every day. Our teachers are completely dedicated to the upkeep of our immersive and positive reading culture.

 

Primary 1 and Primary 7 Reading Together

We decided to develop a shared reading project after taking part in the Bookbug Picture Book Prize Shared Reading Project. In the project, P7 pupils would partner with P1s to read together, and plan fun activities based on the books. In the run up to the Bookbug Picture Book Prize voting, P7 took part in two reading workshops with Mitchell Library and the Drama Box. They practised reading aloud and using drama skills such as voice and body language in order to tell the story to their P1 reading buddies effectively.

Every fortnight, the children took responsibility for their own learning and planned a variety of play based learning activities for each other. They decided on a theme for these activities based on the stories we had shared the previous week. For example when we read about minibeasts the children P7 children decided to make a bug hotel, finger paint minibeasts and create an insect collage. The P1 children planned salt dough spiders, tracing non-fiction texts and making ladybird biscuits.

 As we moved on through the year, the P7s needed less support with the planning and were soon working completely independently.

 

The Bookbug Picture Book Prize

The P7 pupils also planned activities based on the Bookbug Picture Book Prize. For Little Owl’s Egg we made nests, painted owl eggs and held an egg hunt. For Gorilla Loves Vanilla we made play dough ice creams and opened our own ice cream shop. For The Fourth Bonniest Baby in Dundee, we made salt dough medals for the baby and played at a messy play station. After reading each of the books, we came together and watched the authors read aloud on the Scottish Book Trust website. We discussed our favourite parts of each of the texts before finally voting on our chosen favourite. As we moved on through the year, the P7s needed less and less support with the planning and were soon working completely independently. The P7s took absolute joy and pride in the planning and running of their activities.

 

The Impact of the Project

We can’t possibly put into words exactly how worthwhile we think that this project has been. The impact of this project is undeniable, the children have grown as readers, individuals and responsible citizens. As teachers, we could see an incredible change in the pupils’ confidence and skills. We saw the P1 children develop their listening and turn-taking skills and start reading books to their older buddies, while the P7s grew more confident in planning activities and putting on voices for the characters. Children in the class who were reluctant readers are now reading for enjoyment with their buddies and in class independently. Maybe most importantly of all, we watched as these children developed wonderful and meaningful relationships with each other. Their shared reading time on a Friday began to be every child’s favourite part of the week.

We can’t possibly put into words exactly how worthwhile we think that this project has been. 

The most magical part of this experience has been watching one of Ainsley's P7 pupils who has dyslexia. At the beginning of the year we were informed that he didn’t read aloud and wouldn’t ever read for pleasure. In class that was true… until our visit from The Drama Box. Within five minutes he was giving every character a funny voice and moving around the room pretending to be an owl. From the first session with the P1s, we saw him reading aloud to his buddies with expression and enthusiasm. Ever since then, it has continued this way and every so often in class we will even see him picking up his own book to read for pleasure. We can’t thank Scottish Book Trust and Bookbug for supporting us throughout this project and being so eager to hear about our journey. We look forward to next year’s project already.

Heather Stirling and Ainsley Rogers

Heather Stirling and Ainsley Rogers are teachers at Castleton Primary. They set up a shared reading project to get other year groups involved in gifting the P1 bag.