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Reading School

“A child who reads will be an adult who thinks.”
Ewura-Abena Ahwoi

At Atherton High School we know that reading is the foundation stone to success in all areas of the curriculum and in all areas of life. For this reason, we are a reading school!
We begin every day by reading during form time. We read a range of books that are chosen in terms of subject content to encourage our pupils to engage in a range of topical and diverse subjects including environmental issues, animal welfare and the impact of hate crime. We also read pre-1912 texts to ensure our pupils are exposed to a range of genres and eras within their reading.

At the start of term, we assess the reading skills of our pupils and use this information to support your child’s reading development. We have a range of reading interventions in place during form time and after school to support pupils who have a reading age below their chronological age.

Literacy isn’t just about reading! It is about oracy, our vocabulary, and our writing skills. Each area of literacy is a priority within our curriculum delivery and is embedded into each department’s learning journey. We ensure your child focuses on these key skills in all areas of school.

We have a recently refurbished library that is open every break and lunch time. There are staff available in the library to support children with reading, any questions and homework.
“Reading helps students gain knowledge which leads to better writing.” – Education Endowment Foundation.

Schemes of learning are designed at Atherton High School with vocabulary development as a focus in every subject, to explicitly teach tier 2 (high frequency words found in many subject areas) and tier 3 words (subject-specific vocabulary) to build exposure to academic language. Students also have access to Knowledge Organisers for every topic they study that explicitly highlights and defines keywords to support their learning.

Remembering key vocabulary, its use and meaning is supported strongly through retrieval practice at the start of all lessons, and throughout the curriculum journey.

Reading Intervention clubs – by arrangement only.

Monday Year 7 two clubs

Tuesday Year 8 two clubs

Wednesday Year 9 two clubs

 Form time supported reading, pupils will be collected if they are identified as needing a little extra support with form time reading books.

  • All year 7 students have a reading book as part of their essential equipment.
  • Reading Rewards.
  • Student Librarians.
  • Calendared days to celebrate books and authors.

Click here for information

Reading at Home

“Effective readers continually draw upon a complex wealth of prior knowledge about the world and language.” – Education Endowment Foundation.

What can you, as a parent, do to support your child in this area?

  • Talk to your child, discuss their day, what’s going on in the world and their future hopes and dreams, encourage them to develop their informal oracy skills with you.
  • Encourage your child to read widely and read regularly; support this by reading yourself and let your children see you read.
  • Take them to the library. Atherton library is extremely keen to welcome new readers.
  • If your child is in year 7, 8 or 9 ensure they access the Reading Plus programme regularly, little, and often is best in terms of making progress. They should complete three reading tasks and one vocabulary task every week. This is monitored by your child’s form tutor.
  • Finally, if you want to know anything about reading and how to support your child’s development, contact us at school. We are always happy to help.

Must-read list for year 7

Modern Classic The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken
Classic The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Modern Classic Skellig by David Almond
Horror The Girl in the locked Room by Mary Downing Hahn
Dystopian A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Family Wonder by R J Palacio
Current issue Boy 87 by Ele Fountain
Mystery Room 13 by Robert Swindells
Verse novel The Highwayman by Alfred Noyles
Black writer Noble Conflict by Malorie Blackman
Other culture Boy at the back of the Class by Onjali Qrauf
Poetry book The Day I Fell Down the Toilet and other poems by Steve Turner
Factual book Cruel Kings and Mean Queens (Horrible Histories Special) by Terry Deary and Kate Sheppherd
Book that’s a film Midnight Gang by David Walliams
Relaxing read  Butterfly Lion by Michael Morpurgo
Relaxing read The Wizards of Once series by Cressida Cowell

Must-read list for year 8

Classic Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis
Classic Watership Down by Richard Adams
Classic Goodnight Mr Tom by Michelle Magorian
Horror Tom’s Midnight Garden by Phillipa Pearce
Dystopian Maze Runner by James Dashner
Family Diary of Ann Frank
Current issue Moon Bear by Gillian Clarke
Mystery The House with the Clock in the Walls

 by John Bellairs

Verse novel Unbound: A Novel in Verse by Anne E Burg
Black writer Ghost Boys Jewell by Parker Rhodes
Other culture Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne
Poetry book The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah
Factual book Gruesome Guides: London (Horrible Histories) by Terry Deary & Martin Brown
Book that’s a film Twilight series by Stephene Meyers
Relaxing read Little Manfred by Michael Morpurgo
Relaxing read  Slime by David Walliams

Must-read list for year 9

Classic The Railway Children by E Nesbitt
Modern Classic Eragon – The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini
Modern Classic The Changeling by Phillipa Gregory
Myth and magic Miss Peregrin’s home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs  
Dystopian Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Family Holes by Louis Sacher
Current issue Island by Nicky Singer
Mystery His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman
Fantasy/Myth & Magic The Old Kingdom Series: Sabriel, Lirael , Abhorsen by Garth Nix
Verse novel For to See The Elephant: A Novel in Verse by Tammi J Truax
Black writer Noughts and Crosses by Malerie Blackman
Other culture The Kyte Runner by Khalid Hosseini
Poetry book Lovely Bones A Book of Poetry by Shelby Lamb
Factual book The Great Book of Black Heroes: 30 Fearless and Inspirational Black Men and Women that Changed History by Bill O’Neil
Book that’s a film Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

The Fault in our Stars by John Green

Fantasy/ Myth & Magic Harry Potter by J K Rowling
Relaxing read Who let the Gods Out by Maz Evans
Relaxing read A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

Must-read list for year 10

Classic The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
Classic Little Women by Louise May Alcott
Modern Classic Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman
Horror Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Dystopian Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant a trilogy

by Veronica Wroth

Family Stone Cold by Robert Swindells
Current issue Junk by Melvin Burgess
Mystery The Magpie society “One for Sorrow” by Clive Woodall
Verse novel The Making in the Knight: An Epic Novel-in-Verse Fantasy Adventure by Angharad Thomson Rees
Black writer Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
Other culture I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
Poetry book Carol Anne Duffy Mean Time
Factual book The Great Book of Badass Women: 15 Fearless and Inspirational Women that Changed History by Rachel Walsh & Bill O’Neil
Fantasy/Myth & Magic The Old Kingdom Series: Clariel, Golden Hand

 by Garth Nix

Book that’s a film My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Disk World Series

The Colour Purple by Terry Pratchett

Relaxing read The Mortal Instruments by Casandra Clare
Relaxing read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

by Mark Haddon

Must-read list for year 11

Classic Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
Classic To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Classic War of the Worlds by HG Wells
Horror Dracula by Bram Stoker
Dystopian 1984 by George Orwell
Family The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Current issue 19 Minutes by Jodi Picoult
Mystery Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
Verse novel Finding Baba Yaga a novel in verse by Jane Yolen
Black writer On the Shoulders of Giants by Steven Bickmore
Other culture The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe
Poetry book Simon Armitage Paper Armitage Selected Poems
Factual book The Imitation Game by Jane Rollason (based on the story of Engima Code)
Book that’s a film The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Fantasy/Myth & Magic Shadow Falls Series by CC Hunter
Relaxing read Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
Relaxing read The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

We took part in the Manchester festival of Reading. We had a writer in residence working with us, Chris. We completed four workshops with Chris in which a group of our pupils from years 7 and 8 created and performed their own poetry. We visited Atherton library to watch a local poet perform his work and our pupils performed for their parents. We had a lot of fun and established links that we will be building on in the future. 

Watch this space!

Check out the pictures and video of our work.






Here at Atherton we recognise and value the importance of reading to enhance both our literacy skills and knowledge of the world around us. Reading not only improves our word knowledge, spelling, understanding of punctuation (life skills), but it is also good for our emotional health and well-being. 

Who knows how the world will change for us and our young people, but one thing is certain, we will always need the skill of reading.

 Experiencing the pure joy of engaging our imagination in a good story or learning more about our world from a factual text is something we can do without leaving our chair. 

Keep Reading.

Mrs Denise Green