Reading and Literacy at The John Roan School

At The John Roan School, we are committed to improving the reading and literacy of our students. For this reason, we are introducing two initiatives for Years 7-10: 

  1. Reading intervention groups for two days a week during tutor time.  

  1. An online platform called ‘Bedrock learning’ which will be set as homework and completed each week (replacing Sparx Reader)

  • Reading intervention groups

    Reading intervention groups  

    Pupils have been allocated to an appropriate reading group according to their reading age to ensure that they are supported, stretched and nurtured. The ‘NGRT reading assessment’. This is a standardised and adaptive reading assessment that measures reading skills against the national average. The assessment provides the school with a ‘Standardised Age Score’ and provides key insights into your child’s current reading ability.   

    Pupils who need the most support will be entering a phonics programme or an online intervention during this time. If your child is receiving this level of support, you will be contacted by Ms Matei, the literacy learning coach with more information. 

    We will continue to monitor students' reading progress by observing their in-class reading and monitoring their Bedrock homework. 

  • Bedrock Reading

    Bedrock Vocabulary (replacing Sparx Reader) will be set as part of your child’s weekly English homework for Years 7 to 10. 

    Bedrock is an online literacy improvement programme that helps students expand their knowledge and learn new vocabulary, building their use of language for success in learning across the curriculum. The programme is tailored to each student’s individual learning level and adapted to each student’s unique pace. Through Bedrock, students read a wide range of fiction and non-fiction texts to expand their knowledge and academic vocabulary. As your child progresses through the Bedrock curriculum, they will study hundreds of words whilst reading a wide range of knowledge-rich texts.   


    Every week, your child will be set 2 compulsory Bedrock lessons as part of their English homework as follows: 

    Year Group 

    Weekly Bedrock Homework set and to be completed by the following 

    Year 7 


    Year 8 


    Year 9 


    Year 10 



    Students have been introduced to Bedrock during an English lesson after half term. To start a module, they should complete the ‘pre-test’. The easiest way to find this is to click on ‘continue’. Students can choose to do vocabulary or grammar or a mixture of both. Each topic consists of six 15–20-minute lessons. Every lesson is human narrated to engage students and enable them to both hear and read words in context. Each lesson introduces students to new words or pieces of grammar and aims to embed understanding. Students will receive certificates to celebrate their success. 


    Student login 

    Students can use their School-issued office 365 email address to access their account. If this does not work, they have been given a small piece of paper with their username, password and the parent access code. You will find a helpful student guide via this link: Bedrock+Student+Guide.pdf 


    Parent Guardian login 

    On the piece of paper that you child has is an access code that allows you to link your account with your child’s account so that you are also able to see the reading and individual words that your child has learned and their overall learning and progress. You will also receive weekly email reports from Bedrock on your child’s progress through this homework. 


    Once you have received your access code, these are the steps to follow for creating your Bedrock Learning Parent Guardian Account:  

    Step 1: Visit 

    Step 2: Click on the ‘Guardian/Teacher’ tab. 

    Step 3: Complete the parent sign-up sheet and enter your access code 

    Step 4: Check your email for your password, and then log in. Be sure to check your junk folder if no email arrives. You will find a helpful parent guide via this link: 

    Bedrock Homework Club 

    To support your child with this homework, Bedrock Homework Club will take place every Wednesday from 3.15pm to 4.15pm in W208 with Ms Heselden. 

Why we read

Research shows that there are clear links between independent readers and academic outcomes. Our Whole School Reading Programme is designed to engage students in a love of reading, building their independent reading skills over time to advance their academic and pastoral success.

Alex Quigley (Closing the Reading Gap) highlights the benefits:

  • ‘Pupils who read well better access the curriculum
  • Pupils experience more rare academic vocabulary, language structures and cultural insights when they read widely
  • Reading influences knowledge, skills and vocabulary in every subject, in every discipline
  • We ‘read’ exam questions and unpack entire complex processes from exam command words and complex vocabulary
  • Reading gives us access to knowledge that gives us choices in life
  • Reading can help us become the best version of ourselves’

When we read

Form tutors read aloud with their reading group twice a week for an hour with students engaging in discussion and learning new vocabulary as they read a text as a class. Our texts are appropriate for students' reading ages and they are diverse in culture, era and genre.

Comparing the engaged reading time of 2.2 million students, Kirsh found that reading for 15+ minutes a day provided accelerated reading gains. Results showed that students reading for 20 minutes a day were likely to score better than 90% of their peers in standardised tests. (National Center for Education Statistics).

How we read

Form Tutors read aloud, at pace and with fluency, novels that their tutees would not easily access independently. Thus, we are equipping students with the skills and confidence to become fluent, independent life-long readers. 

‘Read-Aloud is a unique opportunity to breathe life into texts that students are unable to read independently, so as to make those texts accessible … When you read a complex text aloud, you pave the way for students to read it themselves’ Doug Lemov (Reading Reconsidered).

Research shows that ‘simply reading challenging, complex novels aloud and at a fast pace … repositioned ‘poor’ readers as ‘good’ readers, giving them a more engaged, uninterrupted reading experience over a sustained period. In 12 weeks students made 8.5 months progress, but poorer readers made 16 months progress’. Westbrook (Just Reading, 2019)

What we read

Texts chosen are suitably challenging and reflect our school community. They are an important part of all students’ cultural capital, broadening minds and expanding horizons. Our Tutor Time Reading Programme texts are read on a rota system with students in each year group reading 6 texts across the academic year, alongside texts studied through the curriculum.

  • Texts Studied through the English Curriculum

    Texts Studied through the English Curriculum

    Year 7 Year 8 Year 9 Year 10 Year 11

    Private Peaceful

    by Michael Morpurgo


    A Midsummer Night’s Dream

    by William Shakespeare


    Anne Frank’s Diary

    by Anne Frank


    The Wolves of Willoughby Chase

    by Joan Aiken


    The Girl of Ink and Stars

    by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

    Frankenstein Play and Extracts

    by Philip Pullam and Mary Shelley


    Richard III

    by William Shakespeare


    I am Malala

    by Malal Yousafzai


    Dystopian short stories


    Blood Brothers

    by Willy Russell

    Dear Martin

    by Nic Stone


    Romeo and Juliet

    by William Shakespeare


    We Should All Be Feminists by Ngozi Adichie


    Sherlock Holmes

    by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 


    Iridescent Adolescent

    by Phoebe Roy

    A Christmas Carol

    by Charles Dickens



    by William Shakespeare


    An Inspector Calls

    by J. B. Priestley

    A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens



    by William Shakespeare


    An Inspector Calls

    by J. B. Priestley


    Texts read with students through the Tutor Time Reading Programme

    Year 7 Year 8  Year 9  Year 10 Year 11

    Chinese Cinderella

    By Adeline Yen Mah  


    Blackberry Blue and other fairy tales 

    by Jamila Gavin 


    High-Rise Mystery 

    by Sharna Jackson     


    Boys Don’t Cry

    by Malorie Blackman 


    Little Women 

    by Louisa K Alcot


    Journey to the Centre of the Earth 

    by Jules Verne

    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

    by Mark Haddon  


    Things a Bright Girl Can Do 

    by Sally Nicholls


    The Time Machine by

    H.G. Wells  


    Animal Farm 

    by George Orwell    



    by Patrice Lawrence         


    Noughts and Crosses 

    by Malorie Blackman  

    Lord of the Flies 

    By William Golding

    The Fountains of Silence 

    by Ruta Sepetys


    Touching the Void 

    by Joe Simpson


    Wuthering Heights

    by Emily Bronte  


    The Book Thief 

    by Marcus Zusak



    By Daphne Du Maurier

    Anita and Me 

    by Meera Syal  

    The Great Gatsby 

    by F. Scott Fitzgerald

    Flowers for Algernon 

    by Daniel Keyes  


    Anita and Me 

    by Meera Syal 


    The Woman in White

    by Wilkie Collins  


    Things Fall Apart

    by Chinua Achebe


    Great Expectations

    by Charles Dickens


    Silas Marner 

    by George Elliot

    Subject Intervention provided by the Directors of English, Maths and Science  



  • Texts read with students through the Tutor Time Reading Programme

    Students are splint in to reading groups according to their “Zone of Proximal Development”* and twice a week enjoy reading for pleasure as a group.

    We read a range of books during this time across a broad range of genre fron=m Glee Club, Frame and High Rise Mystery to text for older readers such as Wurthering Heights and White Teeth.

    * “Zone of Proximal Development” or ZPD and is normally given as a range. Books in school libraries that use this system are rated by their ZPD score and allow children to pick from books within this range. These books are the ones best suited to develop their reading ability.