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I think it’s a shame that our KS4 curriculum is narrow and does little to encourage reading for pleasure. This page gathers resources to support recommending quality recent reads to students, and also using them in class. Other pages in this section will provide themed recommendations in clusters, together with some slides to present these reading recs to students (I use these as register/settling/entry tasks once a week as another way to promote reading for pleasure).

Encouraging Reading

My blog is focused on my efforts to encourage more reading for pleasure at school by recommending great books. The blog is a place I share a lot of those recommendations and some teaching ideas.

Here’s an extract from ‘3 ways to sneak reading for pleasure recommendations into GCSE classes’

  1. Use YA novel extracts when teaching writing skills. I know we often reach for the classics here, but especially now that this skill is tested in an exam and not as a CA, the boards are no longer looking for pre-1950s-style (and currently unpublishable) purple prose. More modern exemplars are likely to be useful to students.
  2. Offer extracts from YA novels as early practice texts for reading skills before moving on to the more demanding types of texts set by the boards (e.g. the 20th century lit set by AQA).
  3. Share recommendations, possibly supported by extracts, or simply blurbs and covers on slides for topical reads or good reads linked to students’ interests (including the canny use of TV shows and films as genre guides – here‘s my sizable list from the summer). This makes a nice plenary as a ‘how do these link to the lesson?’ or an end of half term task: choose one or two to look out for and read over half term (it’s always worth promoting libraries – kids don’t have to BUY books to read them…)

Choose ‘blog’ from the top menu for more.

I’ve been posting regular #ReadingTeacher recommendations on Twitter for a while now. These are books which KS4 (mostly) will enjoy, but which also have a curriculum link or some connection to a school-wide topic of relevance (e.g. SMSC), or something topical. The ‘view on Twitter’ button at the bottom will take you to a lot more of them.

Download a copy of my original Summer Reading Suggestions for students. We gave this to KS4 students, but most are also suitable for KS5 or more able KS3s.