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The Reading Scheme

We keep track of how Scots is used in writing through our Reading Scheme. We try to consider every topic and every genre because Scots is used by authors of many traditions and for many different reasons. Authors use Scots in the newspaper, in fiction, in biographies and in comics. In some cases, for example cookery, fishing or shipbuilding, Scots has its own unique vocabulary.

We derive some very important information from the Reading Scheme. Through it we can:

How does it work?

We send books or magazines to our volunteer readers who mark the Scots words and phrases. Some volunteers, who are regular broadsheet readers, help us by buying their local paper (or a national paper) and marking words for us; this is one of our best resources for everyday Scots and we can always use more help.

We currently have around 30 volunteers who take between two and six months to read two average-sized novels, depending on the time they can spare. Wherever possible, we send readers texts written by authors from their own area, as local knowledge can be very important. If you would like to help, we have a set of Readers' Notes which you can print off yourself or we will send you a copy, and everyone gets a free copy of the Concise Scots Dictionary if they don't already have one. Readers can also use the free online Dictionary of the Scots Language to check Scots words.

Once the text is read and marked, the reader returns it to SLD where an editor chooses excerpts to be entered into the Word Collection database. Finally, the chosen text is keyed into the database, accompanied by a comprehensive set of metadata convering the genre of the text and the author's background.

We always welcome new readers for the Reading Scheme, so please let us know if you're interested. Contact Pauline Cairns Speitel at SLD.