Sunnyside Primary School Shared Reading Case Study
Sunnyside Paired Reading Project
Pupils, teachers and parents at Sunnyside Primary School in Clackmannanshire took part in a paired-reading project for the launch of the Bookbug Picture Books that were issued to the children in December 2017.
After meeting with Scottish Book Trust we felt inspired to create an opportunity for our children in both Primary 1 and Primary 6 which would be valuable, engaging and stimulating. The project also coincided with the launch of the Read, Write, Count bags on the 5 December 2017.
In the run-up to Book Week Scotland, all Primary 6 and Primary 1 teachers met to pair the children up.
The Primary 6s were told about our Paired reading project first. In order to establish a good relationship with their buddy the Primary 6s devised a questionnaire which asked their P1 buddy questions like: what kind of stories did they liked? If they wrote a story who would be their main character? Where would the story take place? What would happen in their story?
The children met to carry out their questionnaire one afternoon and established a super rapport with their buddies.
The P6s engaged in a coaching session with Drama Specialists. The specialists demonstrated how a book can really come to life through the reader. Skills developed by the pupils include – use of simple props, such as rags, acting it out, using punctuation to aid expression, questioning skills and characterisation.
Our children loved playing with accents and expression as well as acting out the various ice cream flavours. A fantastic time was had by all and it very much boosted their confidence in their ability to act as big buddy readers.
Paired Reading Meets
Before they met their P1 buddy the Primary 6s looked at the book they were going to read and talked about good questions they could ask their buddies. They read through the book and discussed the pictures ensuring that they were able to engage their younger buddy.
The Primary 6s met their Primary 1 buddy on three separate occasions to interact and read to them. We saw an engaging process where both older and younger children were confident, motivated and enthusiastic throughout.
The younger buddies were so excited in anticipation for the paired reading visits. This was a pleasure to see.
On order to engage parents and carers in our reading event we decided to hold a ‘Book Blether’, an Open Morning where the parents would come in and spend time reading and completing the activities in the Read, Write, Count bags.
As the Primary 1 children had spent time reading and discussing their books with their Primary 6 reading buddy, they already had a good understanding of the story, so therefore were able to, in many cases, take the lead when reading with their visitors. The children pointed out information from the illustrations, discussed what was coming next and were, in many cases, ‘reading’ the story to their parents and carers.
Towards the end of our event the children, along with their visitor, voted for their favourite book. The children loved identifying on their voting slip which book they had chosen.
Reading in Class
Since our project the books have been placed in our Reading Area. All three books are still firm favourites when choosing a book to read, especially this year’s winner, Gorilla Loves Vanilla.
Primary 6 Picture Books
Our P6 pupils completed questionnaires about the P1’s reading habits and interests. Using this information the children created a story mountain planner, including specific settings and characters outlined by their P1 buddies.
We then utilised a standard storyboard to create draft illustrations for a 12 page, double-spread book. Once this was complete the P1’s began creating their picture book stories (one sentence per page) editing as they went. These were completed over three one-hour writing sessions. Finally, they created a cover with matching blurb – publishing their first books.
The P6s then presented and read their completed books to their P1 reading buddies before handing them over as a gift to their young readers, instilling them with immense pride and completing their Bookbug Challenge.
This was a fantastic opportunity for our experienced readers to engage in a brilliant citizenship and enterprise project that included all areas of literacy, requiring the application of a variety of higher order thinking skills.
Impact on Reading
Since re-introducing picture books to our Primary 6 pupils we have noticed that the stigma associated with choosing and reading a picture book has diminished. Within class Mr Mathis has used new picture books as stimulus for extended reading activities and to engage the children in lessons around values and morals. We are now looking to expand the range of picture books we have for older pupils.
Our younger classes continue to enjoy reading picture books and are exposed to new ones every week. Our reading corner is an area within our class that is used more widely than ever before. The children have now started bringing in their own books to share with the class.
Within the next couple of months Mr Mathis and I will be working with a local author who has just published a new picture book. We are planning to extend our paired reading initiative across the stages and to engage our older children and in particular girls in the theme of STEM.