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Literacy Strategy

At The Ravensbourne School we recognise the value that literacy brings to the lives of students. Not only is literacy essential to the personal and social development of young people, but it enables them to comprehend, analyse, evaluate, and disseminate knowledge with confidence and clarity.

The recent government publication1 further supports this principle by stating:

Pupils with poor reading struggle to read independently, and so read less. As a result, they do not accumulate the background knowledge and vocabulary they need to improve their comprehension. It is therefore harder for them to access the curriculum in secondary school, because the required levels of literacy rise rapidly beyond primary school.

Alongside being actively taught vocabulary in lessons, students will read and discuss a variety of carefully selected texts with their tutors, which introduce them to a range of diverse voices, genres, historical periods and, consequently, the richness of vocabulary that forms these written texts. Our aim, alongside the Accelerated Reader programme, is to create a unified focus on the importance and value of reading and writing for purpose and pleasure, to create independent life-long readers.

Key Staff

KS3 English and Literacy Lead – Ms. L Ledgard

SLT Literacy – Mr. D Worden

How can you help as parents/guardians

  • Ensure that your son/daughter reads for at least 15 minutes each day. The recommended time is 15-30 minutes of quality independent reading to have maximum impact.
  • Listen to your son/daughter read (this seems to stop when children reach secondary school age)
  • Help your son/daughter to explain difficult vocabulary and ask questions about the book they are reading.
  • Read newspapers and magazines with your child and discuss the articles
  • Encourage your son/daughter to read fiction and non-fiction texts
  • Encourage word games such as Wordle or Scrabble
  • Play audio books and switch the captions on films / TV shows. 

School wide initiatives

Accelerated Reader 

Accelerated Reader is a computer-based program that schools use to monitor reading practice and progress. It helps teachers guide students to books that are at students individual reading levels (ZPDs). Students take short quizzes after reading a book to check if they've understood it. Book suggestions are given to encourage students to read more difficult texts. This is linked to our rewards policy to maximize engagement. This in turn should help us to ‘create a culture of improving reading'. Research shows that initiatives that create a reading culture and promote reading for pleasure will increase struggling readers’ motivation and enthusiasm for reading.1

‘Ready to read’

It is a school-wide expectation that all students carry a reading book with them and that they read whenever the opportunity arises. Teachers are expected to challenge students who are not carrying a reading book and encourage them to use the library to borrow a book.

Reading cannon

The English Department have provided a list of recommended fiction and non-fiction books that we strongly encourage students to read as part of the ongoing ‘reading for pleasure’ drive. Students are encouraged to discuss the books they have read with their teachers and tutors across the school. These are also the books that we have purchased for form groups during tutor time reading.

Year 7

Year 8





The Lion the witch and the wardrobe

CS Lewis

The Diary of a young girl

Anne Frank

A Little Princess

Frances Hodgson Burnett

Northern Lights

Philip Pullman

The Jungle Book

Rudyard Kipling




R.J. Palacio

A Kestrel for a knave

Barry Hines

The Boy at the Back of the Class

Onjali Q. Rauf

Counting Stars

David Almond

The Goldfish Boy

Lisa Thompson

The Woman in black

Susan Hill

Windrush child

Benjamin Zephaniah

The Girl of Ink and Stars

Kiran Millwood Hargrave

A Monster Calls

Patrick Ness

The Hunger Games

Suzanne Collins


Catherine Johnson

My sister lives on the mantelpiece

Annabel Pitcher

A Wrinkle in Time

Madeleine L'Engle

Lord of the Flies

William Golding

The Eagle of the ninth

Rosemary Sutcliff

Life of Pi

Yann Martel

The secret diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 3/4

Sue Townsend


Rob Harrell


Roald Dahl

The Outsiders

S.E. Hinton



The Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy

Douglas Adams


Year 9

Year 10





Anita & Me

Meera Syal

I Am Malala

Jane Harper

The Fault in Our Stars

John Green

The Dry

Jane Harper

The Book Thief

Markus Zusak

The Woman in the Window

A.J. Finn

The Hate U Give

Angie Thomas

Half a Yellow Sun

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

My Sister’s Keeper

Jodi Picoult

I Am Legend

Richard Matheson

The Girl on The Train

Paula Hawkins

A Man Called Ove

Fredrik Backman

One of us is lying

Karen M.McManus

The Catcher in the Rye

J.D Salinger

The knife of never letting go

Patrick Ness

Gone Girl

Gillian Flynn

Brave New World

Aldous Huxley

Small Great Things

Jodi Picoult

Catch 22

Joseph Heller

Purple Hibiscus

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Shakespeare: The world as a stage

Bill Bryson

Never Let me Go

Kazuo Ishiguro

Chinese Cinderella

Adeline Yen Mah

The Grapes of Wrath

John Steinbeck

The Catcher in the Rye

JD Salinger

The Wasp Factory

Iain Banks

City of Strife

Claudie Arsenault

Long walk to Freedom

Nelson Mandala

Paddy Clarke Ha, Ha, Ha

Roddy Doyle

If This is a Man

Primo Levi



Midnight's Children

Salman Rushdie

Library Provisions

Library lessons take place on a regular basis for our Key Stage 3 students. Students are encouraged and expected to bring a reading book, browse for new books and read silently during this time. Year 7 students are now using this time to complete the Accelerated reader programme to quiz themselves on the books they have read. This allows us to track their reading progress and push them to read more difficult texts. It also generates data such as number of words read and reading speed.

The libraries are available throughout day for students and after school. Students can use the computers to complete quizzes as part of the Accelerated Reader programme which promotes the reading of increasingly difficult texts alongside vocabulary quizzes. They can also complete home learning and use it as a safe space for reading and quiet study.

Please click here to find out more about our libraries.

Form tutor reading

Under the guidance of the tutor all Year groups carry out reading as part of their morning tutor time. The tutor reads with the students and explains the meaning of any difficult vocabulary. Each year group has been given a different set of books to read that are challenging and age appropriate for each year group. Form tutors have been given training on explicitly teaching reading, however, this is an area for development.3 We are trying to embed a variety of reading techniques such as Teacher-led whole class reading, round robin style reading, choral reading and repeated reading to name a few.

New Group Reading Test (NGRT)

For our Year 7 cohort we are using a standardised, adaptive, termly assessment to measure reading skills against the national average. We can then use this to identify where intervention may be needed and then we can monitor impact and progress made. This provides us with a Standard Age Score (SAS), a reading age, Key Stage 2 or GCSE indicators and progress measures. This is widely used in EEF (Education Endowment Foundation) reading intervention projects.

Year 7 - Handwriting intervention

Year 7 English teachers have been asked to complete a handwriting audit using a legibility tool to identify pupils that need support with their handwriting. Research shows that there is a correlation between effective learning and handwriting. With targeted, explicit handwriting instruction, we can help remove the mental bandwidth of writing to give our pupils chance to make quick progress with this crucial life skill.


Targeted intervention

Year 7 and 8 – Reading Mentors

Research states that peer tutoring can have up to +5 months of progress and can have a positive impact on both the tutors and the tutees. Using Year 12 students as mentors, we have developed a buddy reading scheme in which Year 7 and Year 8 students read with their ‘Year 12 buddies’ to support develop their reading skills. These reading sessions are also used to target our disadvantaged students to help bridge the attainment gap in Key Stage 3.

Year 7 and 8 – Brilliant Club

Using funding from the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) we have acquired the help of personalised tutors to support our disadvantaged students (and non-disadvantaged) students with their progress in English. A targeted group of 16 year 7 students and 16 year 8 students (identified from baseline tests and NGRT data) will have 2 hours of tutoring each week during Autumn 2 and Spring 1 half terms.

Year 9 – Pet-Xi tutoring

Using funding from the NTP we have acquired the help of Pet-Xi. A professional tutoring company that works with students on a 1:3 ratio to improve students' literacy (and numeracy) skills and knowledge. These sessions run once a week on a rotating timetable with the same tutor. The timetable rotation ensures that students do not miss out on the same lessons each week. We currently have 15 students in each Year receiving 2 hours of personalised tutoring each week.

Staff-led tutoring

Funding from NTP is being used to set up a staff-led intervention programme to support our students with specific literacy difficulties. Staff will tutor students on 1:3 ratio for 1 hour each week. The staff are being trained by the English department to help them understand the basics of phonics, decoding and reading fluency. In addition to this they will be working with students on very specific areas such as handwriting and reading speed. Rather than grouping students as ‘poor readers’ we are trying to identify the specific literacy needs they have. Practical strategies for supporting reading are being drawn from Alex Quigley’s excellent book ‘Closing the Reading GAP’.



  1. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/now-the-whole-school-is-reading-supporting-struggling-readers-in-secondary-school/now-the-whole-school-is-reading-supporting-struggling-readers-in-secondary-school#fn:21
  2. J Ricketts, ‘Reading ages: what does the research say?’ in ‘Times Educational Supplement’, 13 October 2022
  3. T Cremin, M Mottram, F Collins, S Powell and K Safford, ‘Teachers as readers: building communities of readers’, in ‘Literacy’, Volume 43, Issue 1, 2009, pages 11 to 19.
  4. https://researchschool.org.uk/durrington/news/tackling-educational-disadvantage-2