Cultivating Independent Reading for Pleasure
At Southend High School for Girls we are passionate about reading. Reading is a fundamental part of our students’ journeys at SHSG. We encourage them to read widely to expand their horizons. We want our students to be excellent readers, not just so that they can access our ambitious curriculum, but because we understand the importance of reading as a rewarding experience in its own right. Through our reading programme, students encounter a wide range of challenging literary and non-literary texts, and are encouraged to explore new genres and new writers. Our aim is for every student to immerse themselves in the enjoyment of reading independently and understand the far-reaching benefits of reading regularly and for pleasure.
Challenge Students to Read a Diverse Range of Books
At SHSG independent personal reading is given significant emphasis, with every lesson in Key Stage 3 (Years 7,8,9) beginning with a period of personal reading. This is enhanced by a dedicated reading lesson every fortnight. In these sessions students read a diverse range of books. Texts are chosen to provide motivation and are carefully sequenced so that students can access more challenging texts as each term progresses. Students choose texts from our well stocked library; just one of many appealing reading spaces throughout our spacious school grounds.
Reading skills are assessed at key points across the year in Year 7, and we use the Accelerated Reader programme to ensure that our students are reading texts that inspire, interest and challenge them. Students engage with the programme by participating in quizzes and activities which help hone their reading skills and track progress. Parents get involved and can help track this at home. This is celebrated through house points and membership of the ‘SHSG Millionaires’ Club’. At Key Stage 4 and 5 personal reading is encouraged through the reading of wider contextualising texts. Departmental reading lists can be found under the ‘curriculum’ section of the school website.
Celebrate books through National Initiatives
Encourage Reading during the School Holidays
During the summer holidays, our new Year 7s, in preparation for the start of term, were encouraged to read one of the following titles linked to their tutor group: ‘Time Travelling With a Hamster’ by Ross Welford; ‘When The Sky Falls’ by Phil Earle; ‘The Girl of Ink and Stars’ by Kiran Millwood Hargrave.
As a NACE school, (National Association for Able Children in Education) we know that reading provides a wide range of opportunities to challenge more able learners. We refer to reading lists and resources from the experts at NACE as part of our approach, to ensure more able readers are effectively challenged and supported.
Engaging Parents and Families
For all children, it is important to foster a love of reading. We provide guidance for parents/carers to help their children when they are developing as readers. Just as dialogue about reading is good in the classroom, it can also be helpful at home. The link at the bottom of this page provides some discussion points for parents. Our reading lists are published on the website.