Reading is recognised as a crucially important part of learning at Chesterton. All students are encouraged to read widely and deeply, in pursuit of academic study and for pleasure.

How do we promote reading at Chesterton?

Scroll down on this page for lots of resources, hint and tips to help your child develop a love of reading.

Here are just some of the ways we promote reading at school:

  • Subject leads prioritise reading when planning their curriculum and scheme of learning design, and ensure there are regular opportunities for students to read in and out of their lessons. Where appropriate, subject specific reading lists are provided and students, especially those in older year groups, are encouraged to read widely to support their study.
  • Students’ reading is assessed explicitly to arrive at a reading age – this information is made available to teaching staff to inform their planning and teaching for individuals. This process takes place annually throughout KS3 to ensure information drawn on by teaching staff is accurate and up to date.
  • We have a welcoming and well-stocked library, which is open every day before and after school as well as at break and lunch time
  • We have three thriving school book clubs (KS3 books and biscuits, KS4/5 and staff book club, graphic novel club)
  • There are peer reading recommendation channels on each Year group Teams, for students to see what their peers are reading
  • We run visits to Cambridge libraries – recent visits have included Central Library and the University Library
  • We host author visits – in November we welcome Chris Priestley and Mark Wells
  • We run half termly book amnesties/ book exchanges so students can pick up books for free to keep
  • We have reading displays in the library and around the school
  • We run termly whole school reading events such as Readathons and World Book Day
  • Staff are reading role models – in their email signatures; through staff weekly book recommendations which are posted on daily notices and included in the school blog; staff are involved in book clubs
  • Students can be trained to work as library helpers
  • We use literacy and phonics based subscriptions to support struggling readers; some students also have additional timetabled English literacy lessons
  • We run a reading mentor scheme whereby parent and sixth form volunteers meet weekly with struggling KS3 readers
  • Classes have regular, timetabled English lessons take place in the library, and English homework is heavily focused on reading

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.

November Readathon

With dark nights drawing in, we think it is a great time for our school’s readathon, which we are running throughout November 2022 in conjunction with Read for Good.

It’s been proven that children who read for pleasure are more likely to be successful and happy throughout their lives (OECD).

The charity Read for Good encourages children to read through its unique motivational approach. Students can choose whatever they want to read and they are motivated to read because the money they raise in sponsorship helps to provide new books and a resident storyteller to children’s hospitals in the UK. The scheme also provides free books for our school library, and there will also be in-school rewards for the most enthusiastic Year group.

We ask that you could please support your child in taking part in the readathon by:

  • Talking to your child about what they are reading, reading with them and to them, helping them choose reading material and asking questions about their reading.

For more information, please see your child’s sponsorship card or visit

Why does reading matter?

Reading is recognised as an important part of learning.

Just like physical exercise, we may not always feel we have the time, motivation, or desire to read. However, we know that is essential to our physical and mental wellbeing.

Research reveals extensive benefits for students when they regularly engage in self-directed reading. These benefits include:

  • academic achievement
  • social, emotional and health benefits.

Even more importantly, reading is entertaining, engaging and it makes us happy.

Children’s Right to Read

The Children’s Rights to Read initiative, founded on 10 fundamental rights every child deserves, was developed to ensure that every child, everywhere, has access to the education, opportunities, and resources needed to read.

Suggested reading by age group

Not sure how to get started?

As a student, it is important to set goals. Goals provide direction and provide a sense of accomplishment once met. When setting goals, it’s best to apply the S.M.A.R.T approach. 

    goals should be detailed, exact and clear
    > eg: read books from a variety of genres
    you should be able to track progress
    > Involves numbers
    > eg: read 10 books from a variety of genres
    reasonable and achievable
    > should not be too difficult or too easy
    > eg: read 5 books from a variety of genres
    worthwhile and is important to you
    > eg: read 5 books froma variety of genres (horror,
    dystopian, sci fi, historical, adventure and fantasy)
    accomplished in a set time, state the time
    > eg: read 5 books from a variety of genres (horror,
    dystopian, sci fi, historical, adventure and fantasy) in one term

How do I find time to read?

Serial Reader:

Completely free, the Serial Reader app provides access to more than 800 classic books in the public domain, but only sends you 20-minute chunks of your chosen tome each day.

Not sure what to read next?

Discover books you’ll love:

Enter a book you like and the site will analyse a huge database of real readers’ favourite books to provide book recommendations and suggestions for what to read next.

Looking for a recommendation?


Provided by BookTrust, Bookfinder will help you discover the very best kids’ books: magical mysteries, astonishing adventures and fantastic facts. Simply choose an age range and pick as many themes as you want. Now you can search through thousands of book reviews, and get reading!

Looking for your next favourite author?

Literature Map:

Type in the name of your favourite author and the site will return a ‘web’ of authors around your favourite. The closer an author is to your favourite, the more likely you will like them too!

Do you struggle to read print?

Calibre audio:

Calibre Audio is a national charity providing a collection of over 13,000 free audiobooks for anyone who finds it difficult to read print.

Want to support your child with their reading?

How can you encourage your child to read more often and enjoy it? For your child to gain the most from the reading program, your support is crucial.

  • At home, encourage your child to commit to reading daily. At night, before sleep, shut off all screens for at least 30 minutes and instead, read for at least 15 minutes.
  • Take the opportunity to discuss your child’s reading choice and engage in conversations with them about the story. This is a great topic for the dinner table.
  • Engage in conversations about the books they have chosen. Why did they choose the book? What it is about the book that they like? Encourage them to read the book to the end.
  • If they do not want to continue reading their chosen book, ask them why. Remind them to try something different next time and to use the tools shared in this padlet to help them choose their next book.

Want to support your child with dyslexia?

Paired Reading

Paired reading is a good way to help your child to read and enjoy books. Allow your child to choose a book they want to read and let them start reading. When they make a mistake give your child a few seconds to have a go, but then say the word yourself – this keeps the flow going.

  •  If the book is too hard for your child, read the words together. Read at your child’s pace. Let your child decide on a signal they can give you when they want to carry on reading on their own. If they make a mistake, say the word and then carry on reading together. You can switch from reading together to your child reading alone. Try to do this for 10 minutes every day – share the book together rather than ‘hear’ your child read.
  • At the end of a page or section, talk about what you’ve read together. Ask what might happen next and whether it reminds your child of another story or film.


Listening to audio books can help children keep an interest in stories even when they are reluctant to read. They help a child develop key skills such as listening and concentration, and are a good introduction to new words and ways of using language. Some audio book apps will highlight the text on screen as it is being read, which can help your child identify words.

There are several websites that offer free audio books.

  • RNIB Bookshare is a free service which offers audio books or books in a screen reader-friendly format to educational institutions. Ask your school or college whether they have registered.
  • Listening Books also offer low-cost annual membership to access their vast library of audio books. Low-income families are also eligible to apply for free membership.
  • Callibre Audio brings the joy of audiobooks to anyone struggling to access print, so they can immerse themselves in wonderful stories, memorable biographies or travel the world in their mind.

Assistive Technology

  • E-readers
    Many dyslexic people have found that reading apps for mobile phones, and e-readers, such as a Kindle, enable them to read for pleasure. An ordinary page of text can be split into several pages, and you can adjust the font type, size and spacing, and the brightness of the screen.

  • Screen readers
    Screen readers are a type of software that converts text to speech and are more suited to the older learner. Many are now available as free apps for smartphones and tablets, and have been included on some e-readers as standard.

  • Reading pens
    Reading pens can be useful as they are easy to carry around, but they tend to be better for small pieces of text, or individual words.

Want to browse some books?

  • Goodreads
    This list is for e-books aimed at young adults. All books on the list can be downloaded for free through (though you may need to make an account first).
  • Novels80
    Browse a selection of free, young adult novels.
  • For younger readers
    For some of our younger students, Monkeypen offer a range of free, illustrated children’s stories aimed at 8-12 year olds.
  • Project Gutenberg
    A free library with many classic books.

Is your child a reluctant reader?

Reluctant readers can love reading too. They just need the right book to start them on their reading journey. You, along with his teachers, are crucial in enabling him to develop and continue a love of reading. Together, we can support your son in his development into a life-long reader.

Continue to encourage them to read every night. Remind them that reading is exercise for the brain.

  • Encourage your child to read widely by exploring different genres and non-fiction books for interest.
  • If your child wants to read a book that we do not have in the library, they can request it and we will do our best to purchase the book for the school collection.
  • At night, your child could listen to an audio book. The timer can be set to turn off after 30 minutes. What a great way to fall asleep!
  • Let your children see you reading too. If you take the time to read and show them that you enjoy reading, they are more likely to do the same. You could even read the same book as your child and discuss the story as you both progress through the book. 

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