A reading project at a Moray school has been hailed by a best-selling author as an example which the rest of the country should follow.
Senior students at Elgin Academy are matched with S1 pupils in an effort to build the younger person’s reading fluency and understanding of books.
The project has been running at the school for five years and the benefits of the paired reading scheme have been recognised by teachers.
Now, it has been highlighted in a national campaign spearheaded by Julia Donaldson, author of The Gruffalo, to protect school libraries.
She said: “Reading broadens the mind, stimulates the imagination and increases literacy. And librarians and libraries are the most important people and places for fostering a love of reading.
“In particular, school librarians, who develop close relationships with the pupils, can often suggest just the right book to a child from a home where there are few or no books, instilling what can become a lifelong love of reading.”
The project at Elgin Academy was set up by the school’s librarian Shelagh Toonen.
Senior students have assumed the position of role models to encourage the younger pupils to follow their passions through reading.
S6 pupil Kayleigh Young said: “I have seen the confidence of my paired reader, Bruce, grow incredibly. He has communication difficulties, so this experience has been all the more rewarding. It has been amazing to see his confidence and motivation grow in reading.”
Karen Grant, depute head teacher, said: “The paired reading programme makes a significant difference to the students, with their reading ages clearly improving. It unlocks literacy across all their learning, in all their subjects.”