GALLERY:

Laois children awarded for their stories written As Gaeilge

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Email:

lynda.kiernan@leinsterexpress.ie

Children from Laois and across the Midlands met recently in Portlaoise for an exciting night to see their own Irish language stories printed as books.
Medals and certificates of presentation were awarded to 125 young authors from 14 primary schools, at the Scríobh Leabhar 2017 awards evening.
They were proudly supported by their teachers, principals, parents and grandparents in the Heritage Hotel, Portlaoise on Tuesday evening March 14.
In total 748 participating pupils received a certificate of participation and a Scriobh Leabhar pencil pack.
Between them they contributed to over 640 published books written in Irish, from schools in Laois, Offaly, Kildare and North Tipperary.
Guest of Honour on the night was Ms Marian Flanagan, teacher and presenter, who said the books were a great compliment to all the teachers, pupils and parents involved, and praised the organisation of the project.
“The standard of written Irish was very high which augured well for the future of Irish in the midlands. I encourage pupils to use a few words of Irish whenever possible,” she said.
The midlands project was co-ordinated by Laois Education Centre, as part of Foras na Gaeilge’s national project.
Jim Enright is Director of Laois Education Centre.
“We are delighted to offer the Scriobh Leabhar project to schools. These high quality books represent a diverse range of topics all of which are beautifully illustrated.
“The project aims to awaken childrens’ interest in Irish books, by encouraging them to design and write their own books ‘as Gaeilge’,” he said.
“It is run completely through Irish, and we have had very positive feedback from the schools involved last year,” Mr Enright added.
he thanked his colleagues in Laois Education Centre for co-ordinating the project, in particular administrator Yvonne LaCumber, and Orlagh Mahon, Chairperson of the centre.
“I also thank the principals and teachers who supported their pupils, read other class books and helped with recommending awards,” Mr Enright said.
Since its launch in the 2006/2007 school year, more than 60,000 pupils have participated in the Scríobh Leabhar project nationally. 
In all, 1000s of primary school pupils throughout the island of Ireland were inspired again this year to use their creative skills and compose, design and publish their very own book in Irish. 
As part of this initiative, children not only write their own books, but they also have the opportunity to read and discuss stories written by children in other schools.
Teachers also have a central role in Scríobh Leabhar and they are offered in-service courses in the Education Centre to help them support the pupils with their efforts.  
The Scriobh Leabhar project links the curricular areas of art and Gaeilge, while promoting integration with practically every other curricular area for teacher and pupil. It is a particularly valuable tool for teachers to develop pupil creative writing and develop oral language skills‘ through the medium of Irish.