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.


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!


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.

James Calvert Spence college

“Pupils who struggle with reading receive effective support right from the start. Pupils speak enthusiastically about how much their reading has improved. Staff read aloud to pupils in Years 5 to 11 several times each week. Pupils really enjoy this. There is a growing culture of reading across the school.”


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.


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.


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 Newsletter 1 (March 2022)
JCSC Student Newsletter 2 (May 2022)
JCSC Student Newsletter 3 (June 2022)


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?


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

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