Children’s Books Ireland announces Every Child A Reader Reading Community Schools

Children’s Books Ireland and the RTÉ Toy Show Appeal with the Community Foundation for Ireland are pleased to announce the four primary schools we will be working with over the next three years as part of the Every Child A Reader: Reading Communities project. These schools impressed us with strong applications that told us what they’re already doing to support their young readers and how they are overcoming challenges to create a culture of reading. At the interview stage of the application process, they wowed us with their passion and enthusiasm for books, and their commitment to nurturing a love of reading in their students. They clearly laid out how this project would impact their students, what we could achieve together, and how we can affect positive change for the whole school community. We were also impressed by how excited these schools are to have a children’s book artist as their Champion of Reading and their appreciation of what an incredible opportunity it is to have an artist work closely with their school over a sustained period of time. Working together over the next three years, our shared goal is to make Every Child A Reader in these schools.

The winning schools are:

St Brendan’s NS, Kilmeena, Co. Mayo

St Brendan’s is a small rural DEIS school of 87 students, near Westport in Co. Mayo. The local area has been hit hard by the Covid-19 crisis and would have already been designated as an area of high unemployment. The school is in a small village and is a hub for the whole community. The potential for impact on the students here and the wider school community is huge. School staff showed huge enthusiasm and positivity for the project and will drive the engagement of the students and their families.

Scoil Chroí Íosa, Newcastle, Galway

Scoil Chroí Íosa is a DEIS band 1 school of 120 students in Galway city. The school has a diverse student population, and the Home School Community Liaison is working hard to include and involve all of the parents in the school community. They have worked to create a beautiful library space, but after weeding old and tatty books they really need a supply of exciting new books to revitalize children’s interest in the library. This school has a real focus on the importance of art and are open to partnering and inviting organisations and artists into the school.

Scoil na Croise Naofa, Mahon, Cork

Scoil na Croise Naofa is a DEIS band 1 school of 166 students in Mahon – the only disadvantaged area in Cork without a public library. The students here have been tirelessly campaigning for a public library and have even been invited to meet with the Mayor to discuss this! Sadly, they have so far been unsuccessful, so a vibrant school library would be a lifeline to the wider school community as well as their students – the school is a safe and familiar space for their families. Teachers in this school really highlighted the importance of children’s voice in the project, for them to see themselves in the books chosen and the artist they will work with. This school made the decision to send lots of library books home with children during the lockdowns – a great decision, and a real help to their students. However, this has had an impact on their library stock; they need more books!

St Joseph’s NS, Dundalk, Louth

St Joseph’s NS is a big DEIS band 1 school of 650 pupils in Dundalk, Co. Louth. They have a library space and really need books that reflect their multicultural school community and that will reflect and support students with additional educational needs. And most of all, they need more books so that all of the students have the opportunity to become readers. We liked that this school had a focus on ‘real books’ rather than reading schemes. This school is working hard to bring parents into the school to see their children’s’ achievements and we felt that we could really help support that work and have a long-term impact and make a sustained change here.

You can find out more detail on the overall project here