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. 

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.

download (15)

Recommended Wider Reading Texts

Each department has a list of subject-specific recommended texts that have been chosen to further enrich and broaden students’ education within and beyond each subject.

Click here to download the list of recommended wider reading texts by subject.

At The John Roan School, we welcome everyone’s involvement and participation in creating a reading culture within and beyond our school community.

Keep reading this summer with free access to myON We want to make sure that every child has access to daily reading, which is why we are announcing access to over 6,000 digital books with myON, as well as myON News, which provides daily news articles reviewed by child.

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