Reading - the key to success

For more information on our school library and to find out more about what is available via our dedicated library website, see here.

The importance of reading for all children

Current national figures suggest that 1 in 4 children are leaving primary school without achieving expected levels in reading, and many of those are then leaving secondary school with functional illiteracy. Studies have shown that GCSE exam papers require a reading age of 15 years and 7 months, presenting a significant barrier to pupils without that expected reading age. A child’s reading age should ideally match or exceed their chronological age, and it is important we do all we can to support pupils in achieving that. Multiple studies suggest that if children read for between 19 and 24 minutes per day, they continue to progress in their reading. Less than this, and children’s abilities stagnate. Less than 3 minutes per day has been shown to cause a reading regression.

At Sawston, we are committed to ensuring that every pupil leaves us feeling confident and able to express themselves precisely and appropriately, ready for further study and the world of work. Reading is fundamental to that aim.

At Sawston, we are working hard to reinvigorate and develop a reading culture with our pupils that will ensure greater confidence, comprehension and fluency. Having our parents support us in this goal is equally as important which is why we’re delighted you are visiting our reading page. Here you will find information about our English reading programme; guidance about how you can support your child’s reading at home; and announcements about reading events and competitions open to you and your family.

Our English reading programme

Our Year 7, 8 and 9 pupils have a scheduled library lesson in their fortnightly timetable. During these hour-long sessions, pupils will read independently, will be regularly assessed for fluency by their teachers, and may engage in group reading to further boost and refine their skills.

The English Department also regularly sets extended reading homework, encouraging pupils to continue their good work in their library sessions at home. We recommend that children read for around 20 minutes per day, averaging around 2.5 hours per week. Pupils should be reading extended fiction or non-fiction texts during this time. There are pages in pupil planners to enable them to log their reading, and we’d be grateful for your encouragement and support as they fill this in. We ask that pupils then take some time to reflect on their reading and their book choices and submit a review to their teacher, or on the new school library website AccessIt which can be found here.

AccessIt allows pupils to browse titles, borrow ebooks, add reviews and manage their reading lists 24/7. The app can be downloaded to their mobile phones for reading on the go. AccessIt has an up-to-date list of the library’s stock, including our collection of ‘Top 20’ titles for each year group. You can also find the Top 20 reading lists by following the links below and by looking at the downloads section at the bottom of this page.

Top 20 for Year 7

Top 20 for Year 8

Top 20 for Year 9

Top 20 for Year 10

Top 20 for Year 11

Dyslexia Friendly Top 20

So you want to take English A level Reading List

Helping at home

Parents have suggested to us that as their children have grown up and become more competent readers, they have felt less need to read with them, as they have required less and less support over time. This is completely normal, but there is no reason why reading together shouldn’t continue and we encourage our parents to get involved in their child’s reading again.

Watch the films below for advice on how you can support your child.

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