Form Time Reading
What is the Form Time Reading for Pleasure Programme?
Simply: Once a week form tutors will read aloud to their forms and discuss key events/themes and vocabulary from the text they have just read.
Why are we doing this?
- Many students claim to ‘hate’ reading but often this is down to fluency issues. However, everyone LOVES stories!
- Too many children will not read independently because they are not fluent decoders.
- Reading confers all sorts of intellectual advantages: the more children read the more intelligent they will become.
- We can overcome some of the disparity between fluent and non-fluent readers by reading aloud.
- Children can listen on a higher language level than they can read, so reading aloud makes complex ideas more accessible and exposes children to vocabulary and language patterns that are not part of everyday speech. This, in turn, helps them understand the structure of books when they read independently.
- It exposes less able readers to the same rich and engaging books that fluent readers read on their own and entices them to become better readers.
- Students of any age benefit from hearing an experienced reading of a book.
How will we do this?
Once every week form tutors will read aloud to their forms and then discuss what they have just read with some helpful prompts and questions to help guide the discussion.
Two books have been carefully selected for Key Stage 3 (Y7-8) which cover a range of genres, topics, themes, characters, and voices. A variety of fiction and non-fiction texts have been selected for Y9, Y10 and Y11 which also cover a range of genres, topics, themes, characters, and voices. Teachers will use the topics and vocabulary used in the texts as a prompt for discussion.
Y7 – The Boy at The Back Of The Class
Told with humour and heart, The Boy at the Back of the Class offers a child's perspective on the refugee crisis, highlighting the importance of friendship and kindness in a world that doesn't always make sense.
Y8 – The Girl of Ink and Stars
Forbidden to leave her island, Isabella Riosse, dreams of the faraway lands her father once mapped. When her closest friend disappears into the island's Forgotten Territories, the brave, courageous and adventurous Isabella volunteers to guide the search.
Sparx Reader is a reading, comprehension and vocabulary programme that urges all young people to read regularly to help improve their Literacy.
Year 7 and Year 8 students are set homework fortnightly on Sparx Reader. Students are set the task of reading a book of their choice on the platform once a fortnight. Students need to collect 150 Sparx Reader Points (SRP) per fortnight to complete their homework. This equates to around 30 minutes of slow, concise and accurate reading per fortnight. SRP points are awarded to students for completing their homework. This is how we track a student’s progress and engagement. Once students have completed a placement test, the ‘library’ on Sparx Reader will open and students can select a book to read for homework. As students read, they will be asked some comprehension questions to check their understanding and to ensure they are completing their homework. Tasks are personalised based on each student's reading ability so that every student can be successful with their reading. The books that a student can choose from are carefully chosen so that the text is accessible yet suitably challenging.
Do students read whole e-books?
Yes, students read whole e-books on the platform, not just short excerpts. Each story has been carefully broken up into passages, and at the end of a passage, a student will be asked a few questions about that part of the story. When they complete the questions, they will move onto the next part of the book.
Does it have a range of books suitable for all reading ages?
We have e-books from a Sparx Level 1, which is roughly equivalent to a reading age of just over 6, up to 16+ which includes classic literature such as ‘Wuthering Heights’. There are enough books so that students at every level always have a choice of books to read. Students identified as Gold Readers will record their reading onto the platform themselves as a record of their personal reading log.
At what level are students allowed to read books of their own choice?
Students who are new to Sparx Reader will be given a selection of carefully selected e-books which they can work through over several weeks. This allows us to understand whether they are able to read carefully and are motivated to independently finish a book. Those that demonstrate they can do this will then be able to add their own books to the system.
How do I log in?
Students should first select their school in the drop-down menu and then enter their login details. These are the same login details they use for Sparx Maths. If a student forgets their password, they can request a password change from their teacher directly.
How to Support Readers
It is vital that as parents/carers you take an active role in encouraging and discussing reading at home. Below is a list of ideas that will hopefully help your child become an eager reader.
How to Support Reluctant Readers?
Schedule a time for reading - If possible, try to schedule a regular quiet time when everyone at home, including parents, reads their own books, magazines or newspapers. This will build the vital habit of leisure-time reading and provide a chance to model reading habits.
Supply books outside of school- Take an active role in helping your child find books they enjoy. Find materials that relate to your child's interests. The more interesting the subject matter, the more likely it is to be read!
Visit the library- There is no need to spend a lot of money buying books, when so many are available at your local library!
Talk about what your child is reading-Talking about books helps young readers build vocabulary and relate the printed word to the world around them. It also lets children know their parents are interested.
How to Support Struggling Readers?
Read with your child every single day -This is you as the parent reading, not the child. This should be 5-20 minutes a day depending on your child’s age and attention span. It doesn’t matter what you read- a picture book, a chapter of a book, a magazine, or a recipe. It lets your children know that you value reading, which sets an example for them to follow. It helps them develop vocabulary, listening, and speaking skills. Just reading together as part of a regular routine is enough to help your child grow as a reader.
Explore books and topics of interest -This is helpful for children who love non-fiction topics like sports, animals, space, dinosaurs, etc. You could also consider a magazine subscription on a topic of interest.
Find creative ways to practice reading - Children who struggle with reading (understandably) don’t want to practice. Some creative ways include, reading plays where children can be different characters, re-reading old favourites (even an older child’s favourite picture books), choral reading (child reads out loud together with you) or popcorn reading (taking turns stopping anywhere in the text where the other person must jump in).
Key Stage 3
I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai Malala was born in the Swat valley in Pakistan during turbulent times of trouble and terror. Religious fundamentalists tried to deny her and other girls an education. Targeted and shot because of her belief and bravery to stand up against this prejudice, Malala's breath-taking story is shocking, exciting and surprising.
Treasure Island by R L Stevenson Set in the eighteenth century, Treasure Island spins the tale of Jim Hawkins aboard the Hispaniola as he journeys across the Spanish Main in search for buried treasure on an exotic isle.
Welcome To Nowhere by Elizabeth Liard Twelve-year-old Omar and his brothers and sisters were born and raised in the beautiful and bustling city of Bosra, Syria. Omar doesn't care about politics - all he wants is to grow up to become a successful businessman who will take the world by storm. But when his clever older brother, Musa, gets mixed up with some young political activists, everything changes.
Watership Down by Richard Adams Young rabbit Fiver is convinced that a great evil is about to befall the warren where he lives - but no one will listen to him. At last he manages to persuade his brother Hazel and a few other brave rabbits to leave behind the safety of the warren, before its too late. Chased by former friends, under threat from humans and hunted by dogs and foxes, their journey is a dangerous one - but the rabbits can still dream of a peaceful and safe new life at Watership Down.
Key Stage 4
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro Never Let Me Gobreaks through the boundaries of the literary novel. It is a gripping mystery, a beautiful love story, and also a scathing critique of human arrogance and a moral examination of how we treat the vulnerable and different in our society. In exploring the themes of memory and the impact of the past, Ishiguro takes on the idea of a possible future to create his most moving and powerful book to date.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte Heathcliff, an orphan, is raised by Mr Earnshaw as one of his own children. Hindley despises him but wild Cathy becomes his constant companion, and he falls deeply in love with her. But when she will not marry him, Heathcliff's terrible vengeance ruins them all. Yet still his and Cathy's love will not die.
Catch 22 by Joseph Heller Set in Italy during World War II, this is the story of the incomparable, malingering bombardier, Yossarian, a hero who is furious because thousands of people he has never met are trying to kill him. But his real problem is not the enemy—it is his own army, which keeps increasing the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. Yet if Yossarian makes any attempt to excuse himself from the perilous missions he’s assigned, he’ll be in violation of Catch-22, a hilariously sinister bureaucratic rule: a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but if he makes a formal request to be removed from duty, he is proven sane and therefore ineligible to be relieved.
Grow by Luke Palmer Sixteen-year-old Josh’s father was killed in the suicide bombing of a train, while he was going to work. This challenging novel chronicles the grief of Josh and his mother and also the attempt to radicalise Josh made by a group of white supremacists.
Key Stage 5
Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder – Overview of Philosophy
Bad Science by Ben Goldacre – The Scientific Method
Six Easy Pieces by Richard Feynmann – How the World Works
The Undercover Economist by Tim Harford – Economics
Sapiensby Yuval Noah Harari – A Brief History of Humankind
Ways of Seeing by John Berger – The Way We View Art
How to Read Literature by Terry Eagleton – An Introduction to Literary Theory