Reading Programme

Aims and Objectives

  • To increase students’ skill, fluency and engagement with reading by making our students more strategic in their approach to reading, which leads to more successful outcomes and readiness for future learning
  • To ensure that reading is prioritised to allow all students to access the full curriculum, regardless of starting point and to ensure every student makes sufficient progress towards age-related expectations

  • To improve the provision available to students to engage with, and enjoy, a wide range of texts outside of the taught curriculum

  • To create a provision where text choices are ambitious for students, developing students’ confidence and fluency. We aim to introduce students to ‘the best’ that has been thought and said – to ensure they are well equipped for future experiences and are educated citizens of the world


We have a Collegiate-wide approach to ensuring that our students become confident and fluent readers, which continues to build sequentially over time. Our Collegiate-wide approach is embedded in our wider Personal Development curriculum, as part of the Riddlesdown Readers programme. A strategic approach is also taken to explicitly teach reading skills in lessons and across subjects, through our Reading Toolkit, which ensures a systemic approach to supporting all students to independently read confidently and fluently. Thirdly, as part of the Key Stage three English curriculum, all students participate in fortnightly Bookworm Lessons where a range of independent; paired and guided reading takes place; using texts that are outside of the taught curriculum. Our final approach is the Catch-Up reading programme, which is delivered to support our weakest readers, and is targeted to specific students, to ensure that any gaps are addressed quickly and effectively.  

Text Choice

The choice of texts for the Riddlesdown Readers programme were carefully selected to ensure they addressed the following key priorities:

  • Ambition and challenge for every student. In line with robust research, books are pitched the year above a groups’ ability to ensure students are exposed to sophisticated and rich vocabulary they wouldn’t necessarily be able to access without teacher guidance. This supports students with word recognition; fluency and reading for meaning.
  • Diverse and inclusive. Significant time was spent researching texts that were written by and/or about a wide range of authors/characters, from different backgrounds; cultures; religions; ethnicities; gender and sexual orientation. It is important to us, as a Collegiate, to ensure that all our students see themselves represented in texts and are also exposed to a world beyond the local or national community; encouraging students to become empathetic, knowledge-rich and moral citizens of the world in which they live.
  • Encourage personal development and growth. As well as being representative, texts were also chosen to enhance our ‘Personal Development’ curriculum and embody the Collegiate’s VALUES. Each and every text chosen reflects our ethos and beliefs, where themes such as discrimination; prejudice; grief; ambition; resilience; sexuality; class; respect; crime and gender are all covered, allowing for important and powerful discussions surrounding these key issues to be explored in a safe and nurturing environment.
  • Examples of ‘the best that has been thought and said’. The chosen books are representative of some of the ‘best’ examples of literature available; where we have included Classical Literature; world renowned writers; Nobel-prize winning authors; texts written by victims of life-changing crimes as well as canonical texts. We firmly believe students having access to such examples of Literature allows them opportunities to appreciate human creativity and achievement more fully.

Texts by Year Group

Year 7 Texts

Ghost Boys – Jewell Parker Rhodes

Stormbreaker – Anthony Horowitz

You are a Champion – Marcus Rashford

Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey – Gillian Cross

Wonder – R J Palacio

I am David – Anne Holm

The Disconnect – Keren David

A Monster Calls – Siobhan Dowd/Patrick Ness

No Ballet Shoes for Syria – Catherine Brunton

The Giver – Lois Lowry

Now is the Time for Running – Michael Williams

The Breadwinner – Deborah Ellis

Good Enough – Jen Petro-Roy

Year 8 Texts

Revolver – Marcus Sedgwick

The House of Silk – Anthony Horowitz

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder – Holly Jackson

Black and British – David Olusoga

I am Malala – Malala Yousafzai & Christina Lamb

A Change is Gonna Come – Bello. Mary

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

Speak – Laurie Halse Anderson

Glimmer of Hope – March for Our Lives Founders

One of the Good Ones – Maritza Moulite

One of Us is Lying – Karen M McManus

The Boy Who Steals Houses – C G Drews

The End and Other Beginnings – Veronica Roth

Year 9 Texts

I Will Not Be Erased – Gal Dem

The Last Girl – Goldy Moldavsky

Purple Hibscuis – Chimamanda Nogozi Adichie

Psych Investigations: Episode 1

Kevin Weinberg

Things a Bright Girl Can Do – Sally Nicholls

Tales from the Hinterland – Melissa Albert

Bog Child – Siobhan Dowd

Rise Up – Stormzy

Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury

The Gilded Ones – Namina Forna

A Long Way Gone – Larry Buttrose & Saroo Brierley

I Am Thunder – Muhammad Khan

All Quiet on the Western Front – Erich Maria Remarque

Year 10 Texts

Touching the void – Joe Simpson

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou

Full Disclosure – Camryn Garrett

Hidden figures – Margot Lee Shetterly

The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky

Good Immigrant – Nikesh Shukla

More than This – Patrick Ness

Brick Lane – Monica Ali

Enemy – Charlie Higson

Lore – Alexandra Bracken

Song of the Achilles – Madeline Miller

White Teeth – Zadie Smith

The Penelopiad – Margaret Atwood

Year 12 & 13 Texts

Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury

Beekeeper of Aleppo – Christy Lefteri

A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini

City of Thieves – David Benioff

Reading Policy

Please visit our Policies page to download the full Reading Policy.