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Kilmacolm PS: Raising Attainment in Literacy Award

The whole Kilmacolm school community was honoured and delighted to have been awarded with the ‘Raising Attainment in Literacy’ award at the Scottish Education Awards in June. This is our journey…

In session 2015/16, a number of parents raised concerns about their children not being interested in reading for enjoyment and that they were having a ‘battle’ with books against electronic devices. The Junior Leadership Team came up with the idea of creating the #KPSLovesReading project to promote reading for enjoyment across the whole school.

The children worked with Inverclyde Libraries and the P6 class to create a parent ‘Reading Show’ and the ‘KPS Reading Challenge’. The children embraced the Roald Dahl novel ‘Matilda’ and they performed two songs from ‘Matilda The Musical’ at the event. In October 2016, the children performed again at a reading event in the Scottish Parliament.

From August 2016, the children from P5-7 took over the reins of the project. Acting on the results from a pupil questionnaire (12% said they visited the school library, 50% said they regularly read for fun in school and at home, 32% said they visited the local library, 45% said their teachers were reading role models, 42% said they used books in activities in their learning), the children planned, organised and implemented a programme of events and activities:

•    New reading challenges for all the children - the nursery Bedtime Reading Challenge, P1-3 KPS Reading Challenge and P4-7 First Minister’s Reading Challenge
•    ‘Roald Dahl Day’ (a full day in school where the teachers and children celebrated the books of Roald Dahl with a focus on ‘Reading for Enjoyment’)
•    The children wrote letters to a variety of Scottish authors, dignitaries and celebrities asking them to visit the school and to send an inspirational message to encourage the children to read •    Q&A sessions with the visiting authors, celebrities and dignitaries (including Stephen Greenhorn)
•    ‘Matilda’ inspired display outside the library, showing all the letters and inspirational messages that were received (including Pamela Butchart, Ian Rankin, Ross MacKenzie, Louise Welsh)

•    ’Book Week Scotland’  and ‘World Book Day’ (peer reading, story tellers, library visits, whole school read-a-thon, ‘Reading Flash Mob’ outside Kilmacolm library, book swaps for children and parents)

We ensure that our nursery children's early learning experiences form the building blocks from which more formal Literacy learning can be developed. Our P7 Nursery Transition Team organised paired reading sessions with the nursery children. All staff have fully engaged with the project and their enthusiasm and passion for developing the Literacy skills of the children has had a positive impact. The staff have embraced the CPD and Moderation activities which all reflect on pedagogical approaches and strategies to improve attainment in Liter-acy.

In November 2017, as part of Book Week Scotland, Kilmacolm Primary School turned into Hogwarts for the day to launch our new initiative #KPSLovesWriting. In partnership with Port Glasgow High School and ex-pupil and journalist Paul English, the children wrote pen pal letters to children around the world. The teachers dressed up as wizards, the children dressed up as Hogwarts pupils, there were even live owls in our own owlery (what better way to send our letters!).

The project has completely engaged the parents, grandparents and the local community, this has been developed through Twitter, the local press and school newsletters. Parent quotes on impact of the project: Liz McGoldrick ‘My children loved the KPS Loves Reading week and it has gotten both of them even more energised about picking up a book.  In particular, meeting a number of authors/writers really excited and interested them and made them realise that there are ‘people’ behind the books!’ Eilidh Wilson ‘I am so pleased that KPS started doing the Reading Challenge. In doing so it has encouraged the children to read more and even challenged them to read more advanced books. Their passion for reading has definitely increased.’

A pupil survey was completed in November 2016 and again in May 2017, there were marked differences: ‘I enjoy reading’ +17% difference, ‘we talk about reading in the classroom' +15%, ‘I have access to different kinds of genre’ +36%, ‘I regularly visit the school library' +59%.

The success of the #KPSLovesReading project is due to the project being continually energised each session with activities planned ensuring that the focus on reading never fades. Not only have the children developed their reading skills, they have developed their talking, listening, writing and critical thinking skills. But most importantly the children are developing a life long love of reading, we now have a sustainable positive reading culture in the school. Reading is definitely fun and cool in KPS!