Islay primary school ready for prize author visit

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Published Date: 

31 Oct 2011 - 13:04

Pupils from Port Ellen Primary School on the Isle of Islay are celebrating winning an exclusive visit from an acclaimed children’s author.

Port Ellen Primary School was selected at random from all schools participating in the ScottishPower Story Swap Shop initiative to win a prize of a visit from author Vivian French.  

Pupils and staff are looking forward to meeting the author tomorrow (Tuesday, November 1), when they’ll learn about her books and her love of writing.

Councillor Ellen Morton, Argyll and Bute’s spokesperson for education and lifelong learning, said: “It is fantastic that the Port Ellen pupils are going to have the opportunity to meet such as well-known author, and I’m sure they’ll make the most of it.

“I have no doubt that Vivian French will be very impressed by what she finds. I know the Port Ellen children are very excited about the visit, and are looking forward to discussing their own love of books with such a high profile visitor.”

The Story Swap Shop, now in its third year, is a national reading challenge run by ScottishPower in partnership with the Edinburgh International Book Festival. It encourages primary school pupils across Scotland to swap books with classmates in exchange for a 50p donation to charity.

Port Ellen Primary School pupils raised £100 from their Swap Shop which was donated to Aberlour, the nominated charity for 2011. Aberlour is a Scottish charity which helps over 6000 vulnerable children and young people in Scotland every year. 

A total of 2,335 pupils from schools across the country took part in Swap Shop this year, raising a total of £1,042 for Aberlour.

Kate Brown, primary teacher at Port Ellen Primary School, said: “The pupils and staff were so surprised when we heard we had won. The children had a very successful Swap Shop and really enjoyed taking part.  To win a visit from such a popular author is an extra added bonus.

“ScottishPower Story Swap Shop is a great way to involve and encourage children with their reading.  Our pupils from primary 1 right up to primary 7 are all eager to meet Vivian and hear about her books. This visit will be a real treat for our school.”

Ann Loughrey of ScottishPower said:  “The Story Swap Shop helps to bring an element of fun to reading and encourages children to pick up a book they may not normally consider reading.  It provides children with greater confidence to interact with each other and discuss the material in the books when they are swapping them with each other.

“In addition, it’s a great way for pupils to learn whilst contributing to their local community. By swapping a book with one of their classmates, the children can help a young person in need, enabling them to feel that they can make a difference.”

Sadie McKinlay, Sponsorship and Development Manager at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, said: “The initiative is a fantastic opportunity to encourage primary school pupils to read more.

“We are delighted that ScottishPower supports this project and pleased that it helps others whilst promoting reading to children. Vivian French’s Book festival events are always extremely popular and I’m sure Port Ellen Primary School will thoroughly enjoy her visit .”  

Vivian French has a great love of the Scottish islands and has written over 60 children’s books ranging from pre-school titles to those loved by early teens. During the late 90s, Vivian was heavily involved in groundbreaking Scottish project, The Readiscovery Book Bus, which toured schools throughout Scotland where she established a very devoted readership, and was inspired to write even more stories for her fans.

The Edinburgh based author will be visiting Port Ellen Primary School on Tuesday 1st November and will be holding two book sessions to suit both younger and older pupils.