The Paired Reading Club


The Paired Reading Club was set up to help improve reading ages and the development of social skills. It was seen as being intergenerational, as our older people offered invaluable perspectives and background to reading sessions, whilst also benefiting young children’s social skills and experience (some children came from backgrounds where reading was not a habit or where reading role models were not present).

1. To raise reading ages.
2. To improve social skills.
3. To create role models promoting the value and enjoyment derived from reading (senior school to older volunteers)

There are over a hundred young people regularly involved in the Paired Reading Club (S1/2 and S5/6), as well as a few older people. In 2003 after winning The Philip Lawrence Award, the Club was described as the ‘largest Paired Reading group in the UK’.

All S5/6 pupils are volunteers; they are recruited by S6 managers who speak to them at assemblies; and create promotional films and adverts encouraging participation.

S1/2 pupils are recruited by S6 senior students, who promote the benefits of the club at Primary 7 induction days, again using film, explanation and example.

Amongst other responsibilities, the S6 management group meet regularly, take minutes; check attendance; organise incentive material; set out boxes; evaluate book stock; write to parents and guardians etc.

Benefits for the Community

  • Closer integration and appreciation of others’ needs and importance within the community.

Benefits for the Younger People

The group has made a huge difference to the lives of others:

  • Reading ages have risen by an average of 2 years in the space of 6 months, and has created a social space where issues can be addressed by peer volunteers
  • Higher degree of respect and understanding across ages/generations
  • Trust and confidence in relating to older people
  • Young people have shown a remarkable maturity, engendering a spirit of co-operation, achievement and care for others across the whole school: this has been regularly vindicated by the HMI Inspectorate. Indeed, following our most recent successful school inspection in March 2013, HMI commended the group on their work and achievements, whilst also fostering such a postive and welcoming school ethos.
  • Young people have become role models; they visited a significant number of junior/primary schools to highlight their positive work; they have been invited to speak to a host of individuals/professionals involved in education, social work, child welfare and the police service.
  • Young people have enhanced their CVs; engendered confidence; supported the initiative; created opportunities;

The club allowed them to be responsible, successful and effective young citizens (values that the Curriculum For Excellence promotes).

Benefits for the Older People

  • Older volunteers are role models, children enjoy their visits; their insights and their spirit of involvement
  • Feelings of a shared sense of achievement and having fun together
  • Higher degree of respect and understanding across ages/generations
  • Appreciation of commitment
  • Trust and confidence in relating to younger people

Older people have been an integral part of the club’s success, benefiting from and adding to the positive ethos created, whilst enjoying the relationships created.


  • As part of their Paired Reading Club assessment booklet activity S1 and S2 regularly evaluate their performance.
  • Parents/guardians evaluate the scheme at the end of session


  • 12 S6 volunteers achieved a City & Guilds certification in 2012/13 with 14 pupils to be presented in 2013/14
  • 40 young people achieved a SALTIRE Award
  • 12 S6 volunteers achieved a Diana Award


A mixture of fundraising and assistance from the school fund

Next steps

  • Recruitment drive to attract more older people to volunteer (3 new older volunteers have been recruited), and will join the next session starting in September 2013)

This project contributes to the Scottish National Performance Framework (NPF)

Scottish NPF Objectives

The main NPF objective that this project contributes to is:

  • Smarter will focus on improving literacy, numeracy and attainment and on raising and realising ambition for all

These NPF objectives could also apply:

  • Healthier will enable people to live longer and healthier lives
  • Wealthier and Fairer will support activities that address inequalities and enhance skills, employability and job opportunities. It builds on the characteristics of solidarity, cohesion and sustainability to ensure that all of Scotland has an opportunity to flourish.

Scottish NPF Outcomes

Our young people are successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors and responsible citizens: To enable children, young people and (subsequently) adults to thrive from an early age, and make a positive contribution in the 21st century.

We live longer, healthier lives: Securing longer healthier lives for the people of Scotland will always be a top priority for governments and individuals alike. There are significant challenges which can only be addressed by everyone in Scotland working together, pursuing this goal through improving lifestyles and life circumstances, and a shared ownership of an effective NHS.

We have improved the life chances for children, young people and families at risk: Tackling risks early and building the resilience of children, young people and families will improve the educational, health and employment outcomes of our people.