Reading at CNS

At the City of Norwich School we see reading development as an integral part of the school curriculum and our school day. We value the importance of being a confident reader and work hard to develop our students’ reading skills so they can become effective, independent learners.

Reading skills are developed in tutor time and throughout lessons. All students and staff are asked to drop everything and read each day during tutor time which is termed Reading for Purpose. Reading for Purpose resources are provided to further both literacy skills and subject knowledge.

We promote Reading for Pleasure strongly throughout the whole of our school community. We want students to enjoy reading a wide range of different books and be able to discuss authors, books and themes. To support this we have a well-stocked library of fiction to non-fiction texts for Years 7 -11 available to sign out and read at home.

We are an enthusiastic, vibrant reading school with a co-curricular reading activities such as areading club. We value the benefit of students’ developing wider reading skills outside of school so seek to support this with recommended reading lists and materials throughout the key stages.

School library

Our main school library is a calm space that has a wide range of fiction and non-fiction for students to read and borrow. The room is accessible throughout the school day and is well used, both in non-lesson times by students completing and printing homework or just quietly reading, and also during many lessons for timetabled classes. As part of the commitment to a school-wide reading culture, on Thursday lunchtimes the library is open only for reading and related activities such as our reading discussion group.  

Because we believe that reading is so important in all parts of the curriculum, students in years 7-9 have a fortnightly library lesson to encourage their personal wider reading. This is led by their English teacher who will support with book recommendations and reading based activities.

Tutor Reading

What is the tutor reading programme? 

Every student in Year 7 and 8 will be read aloud to by their form tutor for 20 minutes for seven days each fortnight. All students in each year will read the same book at the same time so that they can chat about the characters and issues with their friends. The books have been chosen after consultation with staff and parents. We’ve aimed for a mixture of traditional and popular ‘classics’, as well as considering the opportunity for diverse representation and important moral and cultural ideas. Mainly though, we have tried to choose much loved books that we think everyone can really enjoy because they are gripping, funny, scary, emotional, thought provoking or powerful.  As well as tutor reading, we will still of course be encouraging students to read widely for pleasure and giving time to library use in English lessons. 

Students in Years 7 and 8 are reading the following:

Year 7 – Norse Myths by Neil Gaiman

A rich fantasy novel set in an alternate world. Northern Lights is the first of the His Dark Materials trilogy, which has been adapted for television by the BBC and can be found on iplayer. Look out for the adaptation of the third novel, which is beginning on BBC 1 soon.  Northern Lights was one of the top 3 parent and staff choices when we ran our tutor reads survey in 2020. 

If students want to read more, we have books two and three in the library- The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. 

If your child is absent for any reason and doesn’t want to miss the story, or if you would like to get a sense of what they are reading, Ms Jillett has been reading the novel in 15 minute segments which are available on our YouTube channel- click here: 

Year 8 – The Giver by Lois Lowry

This dystopian classic is by turns funny, scary and sad. It follows young Jonas, who lives in a world completely free of crime, colour, conflict … and choice. 

Like Northern Lights, The Giver is the first in a series, and students can find books two, three and four (Gathering Blue, Messenger and Son) in our library. 

The Giver has been made into a film recently, which can be found on Netflix and Amazon Prime. 

Students who enjoyed last half term’s read, The Outsiders, can also find the 1980s film of the novel on You Tube. 

Here at CNS, we are keen to maintain good routines for reading for pleasure at home whenever possible. To support this, we have collected some resources (available on our website and emailed to family accounts) that will enable each student to access a range of fiction and non-fiction materials. The aim is to engage our students in reading outside of their online lessons as a wellbeing activity, and as an opportunity to improve their vocabulary and comprehension levels.

How to encourage your child to read more books

Norfolk Public Libraries (NCC)

Norfolk public libraries are always a great place to access reading material and other free resources. Although it is not currently possible to physically borrow books due to temporary library closures, many online resources such as ebooks can still be accessed (subject to availability). Membership is required in order to borrow and you can apply to join online if you need to do so.

Of particular interest to students will be the Children’s eLibrary and the Young Adult eLibrary (aimed at older ages) which offer ebooks and audiobooks under a range of categories such as ‘Favourite Fiction’ and ‘Manga Collection’.

CNS Booklist suggestions

Finally, our English department has compiled some suggested books, Ted talks and videos for both Key Stage 3 (Years 7 to 9) and Key Stage 4 (Years 10 and 11) which students may enjoy.

Key stage 3 wider reading

Key stage 4 wider reading