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Cotham School

Reading at Cotham

Reading is a top priority for all of us at Cotham School. We want all students to have a love of reading and to have the necessary reading skills to ensure that all students have the same life-chances, regardless of background.

As well as being an important life skill, reading is also a fantastic way for young people to improve their mental health and enjoy a bit of escapism. Therefore, we’ve designed our curriculum and school day to provide access to a range of high-quality texts, which enable students to develop their skills and inspire their passion for reading.

Reading in our Curriculum 

All teachers see themselves as teachers of reading. We feel that it’s important for our students to know that all members of staff value reading, regardless of the subject they teach. Teachers ensure that lessons involve explicit vocabulary teaching and that reading strategies such as skimming, scanning and reciprocal reading are practised. By practising these strategies together, our students become more confident with approaching unfamiliar texts when reading independently.

Reading in Tutor Time

Each week, there is regular time in which Key Stage 3 tutor groups read a book with their tutor. The book that your child will read is a book chosen by your child and their tutor group; we feel it’s really important to give them ownership of what they read to maximise their enjoyment. We’re really proud that our students have the opportunity to choose books from an interesting range of texts and genres. 

Tutors also see this reading time as a fantastic opportunity to develop their relationships with tutees through discussing their chosen book, debating ideas and sharing opinions about the events or characters. 

Our Library

We’re really fortunate to have such a well-stocked library. In the library, your child will find classic works of literature, factual books, prize-winning books, graphic novels… The list goes on! 

Our librarian is waiting to welcome your child into this wonderful space and will gladly recommend books that your child will enjoy, based on their interests and reading ability. 

Your child is also welcome to use the library as a quiet study space or a comfortable reading place. They may also use the computers to complete work and print homework, or to access the homework club. 

We also offer a wide range of enrichment opportunities, such as author visits and book clubs. Ask at the library for more information. 

Cotham School's Library Website 

How we Support Students who Need Help With Reading

If your child’s reading age is behind their chronological age, they may be invited to attend intervention lessons to help them to further develop their reading skills. 

How you can Support Your Child With Reading

Ask your child what they are currently reading. Talking about books is a great way to further connect with your child. If your child doesn’t have a book that they are currently reading and enjoying, take them to visit a local library or ask them to visit the school library. The school librarian will be pleased to help your child to discover a book that’s just right for them. Ideally your child will read a range of texts from different genres, including non-fiction texts. However, the most important thing is that they are reading.

Please make sure your child has a book in their bag every day; students are given the opportunity to read their own book at the start of English lessons, so it’s important this time is spent effectively by enabling them to become immersed in a wonderful book. 

Please also encourage your child to read every day, even if it’s just for a short period of time. If possible, listen to them read and enjoy their chosen book together. 

Here are some questions that we use when reading texts with your child, which you too can ask your child when reading together:

  • What do you think is going to happen next and why?
  • Are there any words on this page that you don’t understand? If so, what do you think that word might mean?
  • How do you think the character is feeling and why?
  • How do you think the writer is trying to make you feel? What makes you think that?
  • Why do you think the writer has used that word? What does it make you think/ feel?
  • What is interesting about the setting? 

Here are some websites which you might find useful:

KS3, KS4 and KS5 Recommended Book Lists 

Book Finder Website: Match your Child's Age and Interests to a Book 

What if my Child Doesn't Like Reading?  

We’re confident that by working together, we can further develop your child’s reading skills and foster their love of reading. Thank you for all of the work that you do to support your child and Cotham School.