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'Of the subjects taught in school, reading is the first among equals – the most singular in importance because all others rely on it. Excellence in almost any academic subject requires strong reading.’

Reading Reconsidered, D. Lemov, C. Driggs and E. Woolway (2016)

  • SPG Book Swap is in reception. Everyone is encouraged to bring in books they have read in exchange for a new book to read!

Everything we do aims for excellence so that pupils achieve the best possible personal and academic standards, which includes encouraging a love of reading. Our curriculum at St Paul’s already emphasises the importance of reading, for example, dedicated reading time in KS3 English lessons, the importance and value of disciplinary literacy in all subject areas and DEAR, so well established, enjoyed by pupils and teachers alike.

Our library has always been a vital part of our school community and throughout the year, there are numerous competitions and events, culminating in the celebration on World Book Day. We have invested in new Reading Canons for pupils in KS3, 4 and 5 following extensive pupil and teacher voice. Reading ambassadors have been recruited from Year 8, 9 and 10 to participate in the Reader Leader Programme, learn librarianship skills and co-ordinate the Book Swap and Reading Wall Book Reviews. 

A reminder of the benefits of reading for pleasure:

  • Correlation between reading engagement and reading attainment
  • Vocabulary
  • General knowledge
  • Understanding of grammar
  • Spelling skills
  • A link to both improved attainment and more positive attitudes to writing
  • Mathematical skill
  • Effect on wider academic performance
  • Develop empathy for others
  • Develop understanding of emotions and vocabulary to discuss these
  • Promote a better understanding of the world
  • Develop their self and social identities
  • Some of our reading ambassadors enjoying the reading nook.

Sullivan and Brown found that the impact of reading for pleasure on progress in vocabulary, arithmetic and spelling between 10 and 16 years old was four times greater than the impact of a parent having a degree.

Sullivan, A. and Brown, M. (2013)


Please see the Parental Advice, latest KS3&4 reading newsletter and book recommendations below

Book Recommendations Summer 2024


My Name Is Leon by Kit de Waal

Leon is a nine-year-old Birmingham boy who is in foster care and is determined to be reunited with his little brother. It is a powerful story of love, identity and hope in the face of what appear to be insurmountable challenges.

The Amazing Discoveries of 100 Brilliant Scientists by Abigail Wheatley

From atoms and X-rays to the Big Bang and the Internet, brilliant breakthroughs by successful scientists have changed the world. Dip inside this intriguing book to read the stories of 100 scientists and their amazing discoveries, including Marie Curie and Albert Einstein.

I Am Malala by Malala-Yousafzai

The life story of the Nobel Peace Prize winner is proof of the power one teenager can have in fighting for what’s right.

Steady For This by Nathanael Lessore

A uniquely written novel which is fresh and funny! There are also important themes covered throughout such as mental health, racism, and poverty but without being too heavy on the reader. A quirky, witty yet meaningful story.

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

This remarkable eyewitness account tells how Anne Frank, and her Jewish family dodged the Nazis for two years by hiding in a tiny secret room in Amsterdam. Anne’s diary is a remarkable story of hope and courage and remains one of the most important books of the 20th century.



The Crossing by Manjeet Mann

A teenage girl struggling with her mother's death and an Eritrean refugee find hope when fate throws them together.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Written in 1931 and set in a futuristic World State, inhabited by genetically modified citizens, this is about a dystopian society which is challenged by only a single individual: the story's protagonist.

Wuthering Heights - Emily Brontë

At the centre of this novel is the passionate love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff - recounted with such emotional intensity that a plain tale of the Yorkshire moors acquires the depth and simplicity of ancient tragedy.

Animal Farm by George Orwell

When the ill-treated animals of Manor Farm rebel against their master Mr Jones and take over the farm, they start to believe in a life of freedom and equality for all. However, slowly, one dictator is replaced with another and the idea of fairness and equality for all becomes a distant memory.

Cuts Both Ways by Candice Brathwaite

A sharp and authentic love story about 16-year-old Cynthia, who finds herself caught between two brothers: one who is Black and the other who is white. The novel explores the complexities of growing up in twenty-first century Britain and the importance of self-concept.



Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The powerful story of how the lives of three people from diverse backgrounds intersect in unexpected ways during the Nigerian civil war in the 1960s.

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

Drawing on Maggie O'Farrell's long-term fascination with the little-known story behind Shakespeare's most enigmatic play, Hamnet is a luminous portrait of a marriage, at its heart the loss of a beloved child.

Fifty Words For Rain by Asha Lemmie

This story of a resilient young girl and her search for identity is set against the historical background of post-World War Two Japan. The novel explores cultural traditions, the power of family and how loyalty impacts the choices that are made.

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

This outstanding fictionalised life of Thomas Cromwell brings vividly to life the politics, intrigues, alliances and betrayals of Henry VIII’s court. At the same time it explores the personal psychology and motivation of one of the most significant figures of the period.

Behind The Scenes At The Museum by Kate Atkinson

Ruby’s narration of her life takes us on a whirlwind tour of the twentieth century as seen through the eyes of an English girl determined to learn about her family and its secrets.

St Paul's School for Girls