We Are Reading @ JCSC

Reading for Pleasure

We aim for our students to leave us in Year 11 having read a range of both classic and contemporary challenging fiction. The texts we have selected as part of our reading curriculum cover a range of cultures, traditions and theme. These titles aim to develop the students’ love and enjoyment of reading fiction, as well as their general knowledge of the world.

From joining us in Year 5, students at JCSC are given a range of opportunities to develop their reading fluency and experience a rich variety of stories. This is regardless of their reading ability and starting points.

Why is reading important?

All of the studies and research indicate that Reading for Pleasure is one of the factors which can make a significant difference to a child’s life chances. Students who read for pleasure go on to be more successful in not only examination results, but in life and careers in general. The added benefits are the change in their thinking, their perspective on the world and the development of empathy with others. Recent studies have also shown how reading regularly makes the brain more efficient at processing other things too.

There are certainly no disadvantages to picking up a book!

Promoting Reading

Parents and carers can find further information to help support children with reading for pleasure in the leaflet Promoting Reading for Pleasure at home, which is used with thanks to Mister Bodd.

Interventions and Phonics

Most children learn to read at first school. Some children come to JCSC with gaps in their phonological awareness, so are unable to read well. At JCSC, we use Read Write Inc Fresh Start to support our students in years 5-9 students to learn to read. Read Write Inc interventions run at least four times per week for students in Year 5 or 6 who are reading below their chronological age, and students in Year 7 and above with a reading age below 9 years, 5 months.

Students in years 10 and 11 who continue to experience reading difficulty use Lexia. This is a more age-appropriate reading and spelling programme for older students. This is used in a bespoke way to support the individual needs of the students.


Students in years 5 and 6 are tested regularly using the PIRA tests. This helps us to identify gaps in their reading knowledge. Alongside teacher knowledge of the students and information from first schools, students who require further screening are identified and tested one to one using the Salford test. This allows us to screen for students who require intervention.

Students in years 7 to 11 are tested three times each school year using literacy online testing. This tests students’ reading comprehension and generates a reading age, which is used as a guide for teachers and also helps us identify students who require further screening on a one-to-one basis.

Read Aloud Curriculum

In years 5 to 10 time is dedicated in the mornings during Tutor Curriculum Time for students to listen to stories being shared by their tutor. They are read aloud to and hear how an expert reader reads a text. This ensures that whatever their ability, the students have access to the same stories and the same experiences. The text is then used to promote discussion and questions around the wider themes and issues. Through student and staff voice, the text choices are regularly reviewed and can be linked to a wide range of topics covered across the main curriculum. You can find out about the texts students will encounter throughout in the table The Read Aloud Journey at JCSC.

Reading and Writing Clubs

Student interest in and passion for reading and writing is supported by a number of extracurricular clubs including Creative Writing clubs and our very own Student News. You can find out when and where clubs run on the extra curricular activities page of the website. You can also keep up to date with what’s going on in school by reading the Student Newsletter, which is produced monthly by JCSC student news:

JCSC Student Newsletters

JCSC Student Newsletter 1 (March 2022)

JCSC Student Newsletter 2 (May 2022)

Recommended Reads

In Year 5 students have access to a class library as well as the main library. We have purchased a selection of books which students can borrow which are linked to areas that they study in the curriculum.

Year 6 students also have access to the main library and a class library in their English classrooms. The books we have for them to choose from including the Year 6 Book recommendations.

We have a selection of books in the main library which are aimed at our Year 7 readers, including these Year 7 book recommendations.

Students in Years 7-11 will find some serious inspiration for their reading for pleasure in our Recommended Rears for Years 7-11 slideshow. We will be adding recommendations for Year 5 and Year 6 soon. Which titles are top of your to-read list?

Student Book Reviews

Reviews can be sent to
(Please include the books title and author in the Email  and “we are reading”  in the subject line.)

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

The Book Thief is a book by Markus Zusak set during the Holocaust. The book is narrated by Death. It is about a girl named Liesel Meminger who was sent to live with a couple in a town named Molching in Nazi Germany. On the way there, she stole a book called “The Gravedigger’s Handbook” from some gravediggers who dropped it. As she got older, she made friends with a boy named Rudy who helped her steal books and food. For the most part, she lived a normal life for a child during that time, until a man came to her door and changed everything.

I enjoyed this book because it was different to any book I had read before. I liked that it was narrated by Death because it gave the reader a completely different perspective than if it was narrated by Liesel or if it was in third person. My favourite character was Rudy because he was funny and optimist despite everything that was happening. Zusak made the characters real by giving them realistic emotions and making them act impulsively instead of constantly being responsible and mature. I also like the little sections where it would give extra information about the story or translations because it was unique. I think the ending was well written because, even though it had said some of the main things that happened earlier in the book, it was still very emotional.

The one thing I didn’t like about this book is that it didn’t give much information about Liesel’s mother. I hoped there would be more context given about her but it was only quickly glossed over at the start which was disappointing.

In conclusion, I really enjoyed this book and would definitely read it again. Although I am not usually that interested in historical fiction, it is now one of my favourite books so I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading.

Diary of the Wimpy Kid  – Jeff Kinney

Diary of the Wimpy Kid is about a kid called Greg and his family, Manny, Rodrick, Mam and Dad. Manny is a toddler, Greg is a teenager and Rodrick is a cool guy in a cool band “Loded Diper”. Greg is a regular kid in high school, not very popular but has a best mate called Rowley. Greg’s Dad tells him to toughen up or he will be sent to military school. He realises that if he doesn’t shape up, he gets shipped out. My favourite character is Rodrick as he is funny and cool.

Overall this book is good and I rate it a 7/10.

Mr Stink- David Walliams

I think Mr Stink is shown as a children’s book as it doesn’t have many difficult words in and also it is a fantasy book. It is about this girl called Chloe and her family. Chloe meets this old man on the streets and helps him out. I think it’s a good book as it shows how to be kind to someone but also shows how people struggle in life. I recommend this book to around 8-11 year olds. I think they might find words difficult. Read the book to find out more. I like the part when she tries to help Mr Stink out but struggles.

The Lost Girl – Carol Drinkwater

Since Kurtiz Ross’ daughter went missing four years ago, she has blamed herself. She begins looking for her daughter again right after a spotting but soon after the city is plunged into terror.

I would recommend this books as it always keeps you thinking and second guessing. It also hooked me and I couldn’t stop reading.

Ratburger -David Walliams

I love this book because it is funny how a man is serving burgers made from rats and at the end he is made into a burger since he fell into the burger making machine. The main character is called Sally and she is a girl. Her dad is a man who goes out with a woman who is vile and eats prawn cocktail crisps and she cheats on him with the burger man and she is made into a burger too.

The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

This is about a girl called Katniss Everdean who volunteers to go into the Hunger Games instead of her sister. In the Hunger Games you have to fight each other until only one person is left alive. Katniss is a nice person and doesn’t want to kill anyone. She makes friends with some of the other people in there. She pretends to fall in love with someone else from District 13 so they can both live. Katniss and Peter survive but only because they trick the Capitol into thinking that they are both going to die.

I liked this book because it had lots of action in and you weren’t sure who was going to win the Hunger Games.

The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

Recently, I have read The Hunger Games it’s about a 16 year-old girl named Katniss Everdeen who volunteers for her younger sister, Primrose Everdeen in a abhorrent, awful game show called The Hunger Games where people must fight each other to the death simply for the amusement of the capitol and the other districts. Every year, one male and one female of each district names are pulled out a hat to see who will be competing in this game show. The two competitors from district 12 were: Peeta Mellark and Primrose Everdeen but since Katniss volunteered for Primrose, Katniss will go into the games with Peeta instead. The two of them make it to the very end but there can only be one winner, fortunately Haymitch (their mentor) has a plan to make sure they both survive.

I love this book because it makes me feels sympathy for the characters knowing that they must kill their friends in order to survive and because the capitol is superior to them. I recommend this book to anyone in the age range 11+.

How to Train your Dragon – How to be a Pirate – Cressida Cowell

This book is the second installment of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third and his adorable little Dragon, Toothless.

In this novel Toothless is in his first year of pirate school.  When all of a sudden, things take a turn for the worst. The ship hits something and starts to sink.

Hiccup and Toothless manage to catch the object and take it back to Berk, Island.

Where they find out that its Hiccups Great Grandfather, Grim-beard the Ghastly’s coffin.  They find something unusual inside. Then the mystery starts to unfold.

The Gigantic and terrifying Dragons and the most brutal backstabbing ones all in one book. I give this book a 10 out of 10 it is such an amazing read

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper lee

The book I chose to read this term is “To kill a mockingbird” by Harper lee. This book is about two siblings, Jem and Scout Finch, who grow up in Alabama. They later discover their father is going to be defending black man facing rape and assault allegations. I enjoyed this book because it sheds light on different problems that need to be addressed. These topics are things such as racism and rape.

This is important, as they are matters that still happen even today, that people still need to be educated on.

Midnight Gang – David Walliams

I loved the book since I loved the comedy and adventure also the surprises. It was about a hospital. The hospital was a very dull one so the kids had a midnight crew and had fun. I would recommend it to 10-13 year-olds, it is a lengthy book and a very good one.

Letter to the Lost – Brigid Kemmerer.

This book is about a girl called Juliet Young who always writes letter to her mother that has died and takes the letters to her grave if she doesn’t write a letter every day she can not cope and one day she gets a letter back from a stranger who shares the same pain as her. Overall, I like this book because it is very interesting.

How to Train your Dragon – Cressida Cowell

This book was full of fun, and was a very engaging read. This book is incredibly stupid the main character “Hiccup” Horrendous Haddock the Third. He is the Heir to the Tribe of the Hairy Hooligans. His father is Stoick the Vast, the Chef of the Tribe. The main story line is the initiation where the boys of the Meatheads and Hairy Hooligans are training a Dragon to be the hunting partner,war buddy and friend for life. Hiccup has a little trick up his sleeve, he can speak dragonise the language of the Dragons. I would give this book a 10 out of 10. I love the films and the book a lot more now.

Shadow – Michael Morpurgo

Shadow is about a dog that sniffs out mines in Afghanistan and also helps a poor family in a cave find there way back to England .The reason that I like this book is because it show life through an animal’s prospective and also what they are treated like .

Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck

What is it about: Two migrant workers , George And Lennie , go to work on Ranches.

Why I like it: Because it a good book and I liked to read it as a class.

The child finder – Rene Denfeld 

The book is about a person who was found as a child and can’t remember anything before that this person is called Naomi and she find missing children she starts working on finding a girl called Madison Culver who had been missing for 3 years and the story is based on how Naomi found her and Madison’s experience. I like this story because it is mysterious and interesting.

Wolf – Gillian Cross

I recommend this book for 10+ as it has a good storyline for people that age. I read this book and really enjoyed it. I really like the characters and the scene as when I read it doesn’t feel like I am there in the book. The main character I would say is Cassy because she is mentioned the most in the book. Cassy is a young teenage girl that first lives with her granny, until she had to move to her mum’s house because her granny was getting too old to look after Cassy. Cassy went through a long childhood as her dad walked out when she was little. She doesn’t like living at her mum’s house but has to put up with it. Read the book to find out the rest of the story.

The Rise of Nine – Pittacus Lores

The Rise of Nine is the third book in the Lorien Legacies series. The series is about a group of 10 humanoid aliens, One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine and Ten. They were sent to Earth after their planet (Lorien) was destroyed by an alien race called Mogadorians. When they left, there was a charm put on them stating that they could only be killed in order and this charm would be broken if they met. After One, Two and Three were killed by Mogadorians, Four (John) meets up with Six. The Rise of Nine is about John and Nine travelling to New Mexico and Six meeting up with Seven (Marina) and Ten (Ella) in Spain. Six, Marina and Ella then travel to India to find Eight.  While this is happening, Sam (John’s human best friend) breaks out of Mogadorian prison with his father. The book is about them all fighting to meet up so that they can take down the Mogadorians. I enjoyed this book because the characters are funny and likable and the story line is interesting and fast-paced. However, I think the chapters could be clearer about which character’s perspective it is from because although most of the time you can tell from the context and the fonts are different it can get confusing at times. I would recommend this book to fans of sci-fi and fiction.

We are young – by Cat Clarke T

One of my favourite books of all time is ‘We are young’ by Cat Clarke. This book is about a young woman named Evan who is determined to find out what happened to her step brother, Louis and the 3 people who died in a car accident. People do not seem to be asking many questions about what really happened but Evan finds this inexplicable and is in desperate need to find answers. With help of Louis, when he eventually awakes from his coma, and Harry she is able to do so. I really enjoy this book because it makes me feel heartbroken, hopeful but also anguish for the characters. I recommend this book as it is fantastic and a must read.

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

The name of the books that I will be reviewing is called “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak. This book is about a little girl who is growing up in Nazi, Germany. Her brother dies when she was on a train on the way to her foster house as her mother was being taken away. I like this book because it can show even if you aren’t allowed something you can get it some way or another (in a ‘political’ view). I also like it because it is a good way to get the message across that no matter what you shouldn’t just give up.

Me Before You – Jojo Moyes

There are many reasons that I like this book but the main ones are the fact that you say you hate someone but really yo have a great appreciation towards them no matter how much you try to convince yourself otherwise. Another reason is that this book shows you that everyone deserves love even if they are disabled or have some mental health issues that can get in the way of your feelings . The final reason is that the book shows that even if you love someone you can’t stop them from what they want to do even though it may not seem the right choice at that moment of time but it will eventually all become clearer even if everyone one around them thinks it’s wrong they see it as right. In this book the man is disabled and the women has to talk him out of an assisted suicide, but they end up falling in love and he still goes through with the suicide while she is trying to use love to stop him, he is using it as one final reason to be happy , all of this proves that even though people fall in love that doesn’t stop people from what they want even if their partner/family disagrees.

An Abundance Of Katherines – John Green

The title of the book I read was ‘An Abundance Of Katherines’ it was written by John Green. The book is about a boy called Colin Singleton who has a thing for girls called Katherine but is always getting dumped.He goes on a holiday for a mission to find a girl named Katherine who will stay with him and predict the future of any relationships. What I like about the book is that the story line is good and it shows little diagrams of what the mission is like when he is trying to find someone to stay in a relationship with.