Elaine C Smith helps youngsters ‘coorie-in’ with online bedtime story project

A primary school is taking bedtime stories online, with a new initiative being backed by actor Elaine C Smith and author Val McDermid.

Hermitage Park Primary in Leith, Edinburgh, is thought to be the first school in Scotland to come up with the scheme, which sees parents, teachers and authors read some of their favourite tales.

The sessions are recorded and can then be watched on the channel called Coorie-in online.

The scheme was set up after a survey at the school found more than 60% of pupils do not always have a bedtime story with a parent or carer.

Depute head at the school Lisa Black hopes their Coorie-in project will help with efforts to close the attainment gap.

She said: “Closing the attainment gap is a priority for us in Scotland. Children from more disadvantaged families come to us with around a 13 month vocabulary gap compared to their more affluent peers. Reading mitigates this.

“It also allows them to experience people and places they might not.

“Children learn not to talk to strangers through Little Red Riding Hood, become animal activists through cheering on Fern rescuing the pig in Charlotte’s Web and the older ones travelled with Milala as she fought for her right to education.

“That’s why this project is so important. If we can embrace technology and encourage the two thirds of children not getting a bedtime story, to consider listening to one, then there’s hope.”

Smith read her book, The Glasgow Gruffalo, to youngsters at the school on Tuesday, with McDermid having also committed to read her children’s tale, My Granny is a Pirate.

Other authors taking part include Lari Don, who read from her new book The Treasure of the Loch Ness Monster and Jane Evans, with a chapter from her book Vera McLuckie and the Daydream Club.

Don said: “Of course, a story on screen isn’t the same as sharing a book in person with a child at bedtime.

“But this is a creative way to harness the opportunities provided by new technology to address an issue created by the stress of modern life.

“Coorie-in will offer bedtime stories that can be enjoyed by children every night. This is a great idea by Hermitage Park and I’m delighted to be taking part.”