Date lodged: 5 October 2016
To ask the Scottish Government what input the First Minister had in (a) selecting the books chosen for and (b) setting the criteria of each of the seven elements of the First Minister’s Reading Challenge, and which of the books in the challenge the First Minister (i) has read and (ii) recommended personally for inclusion.
Answered by: John Swinney 2 November 2016
Following discussions with the First Minister, an Advisory Group was set up to help develop the detail of the First Minister's Reading Challenge. The group includes representation from education, libraries, authors, booksellers, parents and community reading groups.
The Advisory Group agreed a process by which the Scottish Book Trust would compile a non-mandatory book list, which would be used as inspiration for those taking part in the Challenge. This list was compiled following consultation with children, teachers, librarians, community groups and the First Minister, who suggested a favourite book from childhood, Five on a Treasure Island by Enid Blyton. The resulting '100 places to start your reading journey' was agreed by the Advisory Group and by the First Minister.
The Advisory Group also recommended an expanded range of ways to take part in the First Minister's Reading Challenge, with detail including specific criteria then developed by the Scottish Book Trust, in addition to those originally announced on World Book Day. This gives schools and pupils flexible options that mean they can take part in the way that is best for them. This was agreed with the First Minister and resulted in the seven elements recently launched by the First Minister.