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Reading at 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!

Form Time Reading (Drop Everything and Read!)

We begin everyday by reading in form time for 25 minutes. Teachers and pupils read a range of novels together. The chosen DEAR books expose pupils to a range of social, moral, cultural and diverse subjects; including environmental issues, the impact of prejudice & discrimination, historical fiction and the human condition. Pupils encounter and respond to a range of genres in their DEAR reading.


Reading Knowledge

At the start of term, we assess the reading skills of our pupils and use this information to identify gaps in pupils’ reading knowledge and to support your child’s reading development to ensure all pupils become proficient readers.

Diagnostic tests include fluency rates, word accuracy, phonics knowledge and vocabulary knowledge.

We have a range of additional reading interventions for pupils, during form time and after school to support pupils who have a reading age below their chronological age or pupils who need bespoke help with reading.

Reading Intervention clubs

Monday Year 7

  • Reading intervention club
  • ReadingPlus club
  • Proficient readers club

Tuesday Year 8

  • Reading intervention club
  • ReadingPlus club
  • Proficient readers club

Wednesday Year 9

  • Reading intervention club
  • ReadingPlus club
  • Proficient readers club

Wednesday Year 10

  • Reading intervention club

 Form time supported reading:  small group reading is available for pupils who need a little extra support with form time reading books. Teachers and teaching assistants who work with small groups have had Sounds Write training.

Reading in Subjects

Every subject area carefully selects academic texts that are prioritised for reading to develop subject disciplinary reading to support our knowledge-rich curriculum. All teachers and teaching assistants use reciprocal reading techniques to develop reading and to ensure all pupils become proficient readers. Exposure to academic reading builds knowledge, supporting students to know more.

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 subject’s learning journey. We carefully select and explicitly teach the subject vocabulary that students are expected to know, remember, and use accurately in their writing.

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. You can find the Knowledge Organisers in the tab ‘Knowledge Organiser Booklet’ on the school website. Remembering key vocabulary, its use and meaning is supported strongly through retrieval practice at the start of all lessons, and throughout the curriculum journey.

Our School Library

“Reading helps students gain knowledge which leads to better writing.” – Education Endowment Foundation.

Our school library is open every break and lunch time. There are staff available in the library to support children with reading, any questions and homework. We also have student librarians who support pupils with reading and book choices.

Culture of Reading at AHS- We are a reading school!

  • Bookbuzz: every year we buy a book for every Year 7 and 8 pupils. Bookbuzz is a reading programme from the BookTrust that aims to help schools inspire a love of reading in 11 to 13-year-olds. We give students the opportunity to choose their own book to take home and keep from a list of 16 titles.  They are all carefully selected by a panel of experts to ensure quality, suitability and to encourage reading for pleasure. Bookbuzz ensures that students have a reading book as part of their essential equipment for school.

Click here for information

Buzzbook book reviews:

  • Read Register and Respond (RRR): Every Friday it is Read, Register and Respond during form time. We read an article about a topical, cultural, moral, or historical topic and pupils then respond. RRR have included COP22, Remembrance, Paralympics, Cyber-bullying, Holocaust Memorial Day, the Queen’s funeral and much more.
  • Reading Awards: every half term in our Achievement Assembly reading is celebrated with reading awards and reading books as prizes!
  • Calendared days: to celebrate books and authors.
  • Reading newsletters:

Reading School Spring term Newsletter 2023

Reading School Summer term Newsletter 2023

Reading School Autumn term Newsletter 2024

Reading School Spring term Newsletter 2024

Reading is an exercise in empathy; an exercise in walking in someone else’s shoes for a while.

Malorie Blackman