Evanne Ní Chuilinn, RTÉ Sports Reporter, presented awards in The Watershed Leisure Centre, Loughboy to some of the 764 pupils from the Kilkenny area who composed, designed and published their own books in Irish as part of Foras na Gaeilge’s Scríobh Leabhar project.
In all, thirteen schools in the Kilkenny region took part in Scríobh Leabhar which attracted nearly 6,000 primary school pupils from all around Ireland to write their own stories in Irish on a variety of subjects. Scríobh Leabhar is managed locally through the Kilkenny Education Centre in conjunction with Foras na Gaeilge – the Irish language promotional body.
“We’re delighted that the Scríobh Leabhar project has yet again sparked the imagination of thousands of children and resulted in them creating wonderful stories and tales as Gaeilge” said Aedín Ní Bhroin, Director of Clár na Leabhar Gaeilge, Foras na Gaeilge. “Not only does the project enable them to create their very own book which they write and illustrate themselves but it’s also a great way to boost their confidence in their Irish language ability” she said.
Since its launch in the 2006-2007 school year, more than 25,000 pupils have participated in the Scríobh Leabhar project. The children not only write their own books, but they also have the opportunity to read and discuss material written by children in other schools.
“Young children love playing with languages and the Scríobh Leabhar project allows them to have fun by expressing themselves in Irish. Every year the children thoroughly enjoy writing and illustrating their own publication as Gaeilge” said Ferdie Mac an Fhailigh, Chief Executive of Foras na Gaeilge. “We’re very proud of the success of the project throughout the last five years and the encouragement it gives the young pupils to experiment with Irish. There are not many competitions which allow a child to have a book published by the age of eleven” he concluded.
Scríobh Leabhar doesn’t just involve children. Teachers are also offered a workshop to help them support the children as they become Irish language authors and publishers. This training helps teachers devise strategies to motivate and inspire children’s Irish language writing.
“We always enjoy hosting the Scríobh Leabhar project as it’s a great initiative for children to improve their written and spoken Irish” said Paul Fields, Director of Kilkenny Education Centre. “Every year the pupils put a huge effort into making the books and the project gives them a great sense of pride and satisfaction in their work” he said.