Reading, writing, vocabulary, speaking, listening, debate…the complex tapestry of great teaching, enacted in every lesson, in every phase and subject domain, by every teacher.

Alex Quigley

We believe for all pupils to succeed they must be well equipped with enough language to access the pleasure of reading, the excitement of writing and to explore new subjects, unlocking the potential to learn and grow as individuals. A strong command of language is not only essential in the wider academic world but it can also affect a pupilā€™s self-esteem and confidence.

Research suggests that pupils who read more frequently tend to have more academic success and go on to have better career prospects after they leave school than those who read less frequently. Further to this, reading has been proven to help lessen anxiety and improve wellbeing (Clark and Rumbold, 2006).

At Whickham we begin every topic with an explicit focus upon subject specific and academic vocabulary that underpins the disciplinary literacy of each subject, using a variety of strategies to explore each term. Every curriculum is designed to foster opportunities for reading within each topic, most often this is directly linked to the curriculum topic, however on occasion, the reading might also encourage wider awareness of the world that will give learning a greater context when embarking on a challenging topic, in order to develop the learners schema.


Whickham School Reading Canon

Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to let in more light

Vera Nazarian

We will continue to develop and nurture a love of reading, for pleasure, with a rigorous approach to develop learnerā€™s confidence and enjoyment of reading. In order to support this, as well as to better model fluency (with explicit reference to Rasinskiā€™s Multidimensional Fluency Rubric), tutors will read with their tutor group each week during allocated tutorial periods. Pupils will take pause at the end each session to discuss the narrative in relation to the Whickham School Qualities, as well as literary developments. Two books per year will be read with each year group as depicted on the ā€˜Whickham School Reading Canonā€™ below.

Each of the books have been carefully selected to introduce students to a wide range of genres and styles of writing that they can use to inform their own preferences when choosing a book to read for pleasure. Each of the books also brings to light many important personal and cultural issues that we will use to explore the qualities we believe a Whickham pupil should embody.


Subject Reading Canons

To grasp the words on a page we have to know a lot of information that isnā€™t set down on a page

Professor E.D. Hirsch

In addition to the whole school reading canon, every subject has developed their own reading canon to encourage further independent reading around each curriculum area. All ā€˜Subject Canonā€™ texts will be available in the school library for students to loan. We hope you will join us in supporting your child to read at home.


Reading Support

All students at Whickham undergo regular testing to assess their reading age. This data helps to inform teaching planning and also helps to inform our intervention plan for students who need a little more support reaching the appropriate reading age to access the curriculum.