Literacy and Reading

Reading for pleasure: Reading for learning

Interest in reading tends to drop off in secondary schools and it is not just development in literacy that this affects; it has a knock on effect on learning across the curriculum. Reading different texts in order to understand, evaluate and discuss the content of that text is a vital skill for learning that will help pupils with their GCSEs across all their subjects. But, reading for pleasure, as well as reading for information, is also a vital and enriching skill for life.


At Smithills, we are keen to reverse the trend where interest in reading diminishes: we create a culture within our school which really celebrates reading and encourages young people to share their thoughts and ideas with one another. 

Pupils are introduced to the Library in Year 7 and through Star Reading tests are given a range of books from the Accelerated Reader programme which they could choose to read. Every fortnight, students in years 7, 8 and 9 have a designated library lesson where they read, change their reading book and complete activities linked to reading.


We also promote reading through English lessons, where students study a wide range of literature in each year, including: A Christmas Carol at GCSE; Animal Farm in year 9; The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas in year 8; war poetry in year 9; Shakespeare in every academic year. Students are encouraged to discuss what they are reading, sharing their ideas, voicing their own opinions and developing informed responses to texts. Across all curriculum lessons, students read a wide range of material, particularly non-fiction, and so are constantly in the habit of reading for meaning. There is also time devoted during form sessions in the mornings to shared and independent reading.

The library is the centre of many competitions and events. Please see the Library section of our website for more information about how our Librarian promotes reading and encourages children to love their reading. 

Why do we want pupils to read?

What are the benefits of reading for pleasure?

  • Children who say they enjoy reading for pleasure are more likely to achieve well in their GCSE qualifications.

  • It can have a positive impact on children’s emotional and social behaviour.

  • It can have a positive impact on how children write – including their spelling and grammar.

What works in improving independent reading?

  • An important factor in developing reading for pleasure is providing choice - choice and interest are highly related.

  • Parents/ guardians and the home environment are essential to the early teaching of reading and fostering a love of reading; children are more likely to continue to be readers in homes where books and reading are valued.                         

  • Reading for pleasure is strongly influenced by relationships between teachers and children, and children and families.

How often do we want our children to read?

It is really important that pupils have a good routine when it comes to reading, and we provide this opportunity through timetabled Library lessons to ensure expectations are high and pupils are able to read independently. Pupils are required to read independently for the majority of their fortnightly Library lesson. Of course, we encourage pupils to read independently at home as often as possible. Ideally, this is every day or night: there is nothing like curling up with a good book at the end of the day, switching off from the outside world and escaping into another world. 


Click HERE to download the Functional Skills document.

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