Literacy and Reading

Reading is a skill which supports a student’s learning across the school and prepares them for accessing the world of words outside of school.

It is a skill like any other which, if not practised, will stop developing and can lead to slower progress. It is important to find the balance between reading and other forms of entertainment so it does not become an activity that students see as ‘bad medicine’. With the growing, fantastic range of fiction available it is a case of finding what most appeals to your child.

Accelerated Reader (AR)

Students in Years 7-9 will be part of the Accelerated Reader programme, which helps guide them towards books which will both be accessible and challenging to them. When choosing books with your child, wherever possible, try and find out their ZPD (Book Level) range and see whether the books they want to read fall in this range. The school will never prevent students from reading books they want, but we encourage them to choose books within their ZPD as these will best help their reading develop, without being too easy or too challenging.

Search the Accelerated Reader database for titles here.

What to read?

A common question is ‘What books would you recommend for my child?’

There is no one list that suits everybody but we have published reading lists that will help guide our students and parents towards making choices about the next book to read. We have a copy of all of these books in the library (unless they are already out on loan!) that can be borrowed.

This is not a prescriptive list but a guideline to help anyone who doesn’t know what to read next. We understand parents have often not known what to suggest so the lists are grouped by theme and also some are linked to moving on from popular authors.

The ZPD of each book is listed to help give an idea about difficulty.

STUDENTS  – You may want to choose a book that is above your ZPD – please talk to your English teacher so they know you want to do this. They may be able to help give you more guidance about your choice!

‘Young Adult’ books will contain content that is more suitable for KS4 students.

PARENTS – Please speak to your child’s English teacher if you have any questions.

Click here to go to our reading lists.


There are other websites that provide ideas.  Here’s just one example of a website which provides different sections by age, gender, popularity and others that may prove a good starting point. If you hover your curser over the ‘Secondary’ toolbar the options will appear.

Other useful links

Reading time

Penrice Academy makes time for students to read during some tutor periods and in English lessons. However, it is essential that students read at home if they are going to develop and grow their skills as readers. Finding 20 minutes where they read in an evening will help with this. If they can read aloud to you then this with also help their intonation and pronunciation.

Reading is also an excellent way to settle the mind before sleep and this is a good habit to encourage with children.

You can read more ways to help your child with their reading below.