Last Updated: Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Reading is fun – early years, primary and secondary

What is this?

In this learning activity, parents/carers, children and young people have the opportunity to use Gaelic as they enjoy reading books and stories together. If possible, children and young people should read and use Gaelic every day to help their fluency. Please see additional advice here.

It is important to develop positive attitudes to reading. Relax and enjoy your time together. Younger children may want to snuggle up with you to read or listen to stories, whilst older children may prefer to read or listen to stories on their own. They can talk to you about what they have been reading or listening to at another time.

This learning activity may be done daily using different books, e-books, audio books and stories. This will help children and young people increase their fluency, including by developing a broader range of vocabulary.

As you complete activities, encourage your child to use as much Gaelic as they can. Children may wish to discuss what they have been reading with someone they speak to on the phone or using the computer for example.

Do not worry if there is not a lot of time in the day to spend reading, or listening to stories together, a few minutes can make a big difference.

Here are some ideas for you to consider.

  • Find somewhere comfortable to settle down with your child to share a book.
  • Younger children may like to take part in the live story telling sessions from Bookbug sa Ghàidhlig and Leugh is Seinn le Linda being broadcasted on Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s internet channel:
  • You may wish to watch and discuss children’s programmes on BBC Alba.
  • You may wish to visit Gaelic4parents to see a range of games, stories and audio books for a range of primary school stages.
  • There is a collection of stories for older children to read and listen to available
  • If possible, invite your child to choose what they would like to listen to or read. Children may have a favourite story they like to hear or read themselves over again.
  • Ask questions about the book you are sharing together.

Sgoil Àraich

  • As you read and listen together, pay attention to the cover and the title, and turning the pages. Ask your child to help you.
  • In Gaelic, identify characters. Discuss where the story is taking place. Discuss the characters and what they are or doing. Encourage your child to repeat words and phrases from the story.
  • If your book has text in Gaelic your child may show an interest in looking at the words. Encourage your child to look at and follow the words with you as you are reading or listening to the story being read.
  • Here are follow-up activities your child can do after reading or hearing a story:
    • Draw a picture of your favourite character from a story. Ask your child why they like that particular character.
    • Retell one of your favourite stories and include actions to tell what happened.
    • Make up your own Gaelic story and tell it to an adult and/or brother/sister.
    • Pretend you are a storyteller and ‘read’ stories to your toys. Use all the Gaelic words you can remember.
    • If paper, pencils and crayons are available, make your own storybook. You may use the computer, if you wish.


  • Ask your child to choose a book – this could be a book from school, such as a reading book. Ask them if they know what the book is about.
  • Talk about what happens in the book, identify colours, actions and name objects from the book for example.
  • Encourage your child to read the words and have-a-go at tricky words.
  • Ask open-ended questions for example, “Can you tell me why you think that happened? What do you think is going to happen next?”
  • Ask your child about their most and least favourite characters in the story and why?
  • Here are follow-up activities you and your child can do after reading or hearing a story:
    • Act out parts of the story. Pretend to be a character and ask your child to guess who you are. Encourage them to do the same.
    • Have some fun with puppets – use old socks to make puppet characters. Retell the story using the puppets.
    • Draw something related to the story. Ask them to write about what they have drawn, using as many Gaelic words and phrases as they can. Encourage your child to write a sentence using a capital letter and full stop correctly.
    • Create a different front cover and title for your favourite book. Discuss what you have drawn with an adult or other family member.
    • Find items in your home which have stories and written information in them, such as books, magazines, leaflets, menus. Ask your child to sort what they find into groups and discuss the groupings with them. Create a library and invite family members in your house to come and visit.


  • Ask your child to select a book. This could be a new, familiar or favourite book. It may be one they have from school.
  • Ask your child to tell you why they have selected this particular story or book. Talk about the cover and the title. Ask them if it is a real or an imaginary story.
  • You may want to read together or take turns reading a few sentences each. As you read use expression.
  • Ask your child questions about what is happening in the story or book.
  • Discuss with your child their favourite part of the story or book.
  • Ask your child if there are any parts of the story they would change? Please ask them to explain why they would change the story.
  • Here are follow-up activities your child can do after reading or hearing a story:
    • Draw a cartoon strip to retell a story. Write short sentences in Gaelic that explains what is happening at each stage. It may be useful to use a dictionary such as scot to help with spelling tricky words.
    • Use your toys to create characters and act out a story. Invite family members in your house to come and watch your show.
    • Write a different ending to a book or story you enjoy.
    • Create a library using books, magazines and other items you have in your home which contain information. Sort them into categories and write short descriptions about each group of items.
    • Write a short letter or an email to an author of one of your favourite books. Tell them why you like their book so much.


  • Set aside some reading time for your child and invite them to select a book or story in Gaelic. This may be a book you have in your home or children have from school.
  • Encourage your child to read the book to you. If there are tricky words to pronounce and understand the meaning of, it may be helpful to use scot. Listen carefully as your child reads.
  • Ask your child questions about what is happening in the book and encourage them to make predictions about what might happen next. They may like to come up with a different ending for the story.
  • Here are follow-up activities your child can do after reading or hearing a story:
    • Create a poster about your favourite character, giving them a superpower. Talk about why you have chosen this superpower.
    • Rewrite the story in your own way and in your own words. Add illustrations.
    • Select and draw a character from a book you have recently read. Show them as a baby, a teenager, middle-aged person and as an older person. Underneath each picture write what you think they might be doing and why at that point in their life. Pay attention to spelling, grammar and punctuation.
    • Compose a song or a rap about a story or character you have read. Perform it for your family. You may wish to record it.
    • From a book you have recently read, choose an important object or creature and create a user manual or a guide explaining how to care for it. Make sure your instructions are clear and easily understood.


  • Encourage your child to read Gaelic text as often as possible. This can come from Gaelic books you may have in your home or your child has from school, online news stories that are written in Gaelic, the descriptions of programmes that are on BBC Alba, for example.
  • Ask your child to summarise in Gaelic what they read. Encourage them to give their opinions. Can they identify fiction, non-fiction, fact or opinion?
  • They may want to take some time to read or listen to stories on their own. Discuss with them afterwards what they have read or listened to and ask them questions such as, “Why did that happen? Could it have been prevented? Do you think you are like any of the characters? What information tells you about the characters? Did the story have a good ending? Why do you think this?”
  • Here are follow-up activities your child can do after they have been reading:
    • In Gaelic, ask your child to create a script for their own news item. Encourage them to read their script out aloud as if they are a news reporter. They should use a range of Gaelic vocabulary and phrases suitable for your chosen topic.
    • Create your own programme description in Gaelic on a programme of your choice.
    • Create a drama script from a book/favourite story you have read. Check your work, including spelling and grammar.
    • Place yourself “in the shoes” of a character you have recently read about. Write a diary entry in Gaelic about a key moment in their story.
    • There are short stories available from Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig here. They have accompanying activities you can complete after reading the stories. Use a dictionary such as scot to help with the meanings of unfamiliar words.

There is further information available here: