Saint Pius X Catholic High School

Saint Pius X Catholic High School


Saint Pius X Catholic High School Reading Strategy

There is no such thing as a child who hates to read; there are only children who have not found the right book. 


At Saint Pius X Catholic High School, we aim to develop in our students the habit of reading, to develop their confidence in reading and understanding what is being read, and to ensure that they acquire love of reading that will last a lifetime.


All students are encouraged to read widely and to read a range of genres from the well-stocked library of fiction and non-fiction texts. The library has a full time librarian to ensure it is kept well maintained and there are a range of initiatives and activities to encourage students to visit regularly. The library has a reading area where students may relax while they enjoy a book during break or lunchtime. In English lessons students read a range of diverse texts such as Freedom Writers as part of their curriculum, as well as having the opportunity to read their own choice of books at the starts of lessons.

Alongside the ‘receptive reading’ described above (reading a story or article for fun) we recognise it is very important also that students develop strategies in reading such as reflective reading, skimming, scanning, and reading for details. Reflective reading is reading a text and then, rereading by backtracking for checking; skimming in which the student is being exposed to new reading material and looks for key details only and scanning in which the student is looking for specific information are essential skills to acquire, as is intensive reading to find out exact information.

Questionnaires are completed to ascertain the views of students about reading in order to implement strategies to address any issues which are raised.



World Book Day is celebrated across the school through activities led by the English department such as a Harry Potter Wizadry Workshop and favourite characters from books event.

Students in Y7 take part in the Readathon to raise money for children in hospitals to have access to books.



We believe developing reading skills is the responsibility of all teachers and is important in all subjects. Every teacher communicates their subject through academic language and reading, writing, speaking and listening are at the heart of knowing and doing science, art, history and every other subject in secondary school. Therefore, each department has compiled lists of the tier 2 and tier 3 words which are relevant to their subject and strategies for how these words will be introduced and embedded with students. Some departments utilise texts where appropriate as part of their curriculum, for example in history students read Private Peaceful and War Horse as part of the completion of topics on World War 2.



Research shows that reading can help to reduce stress and improve mental wellbeing. Linked to this, we know that research also shows the numerous benefits of a good night’s sleep, which can be significantly helped by a reduction in screen-time. Therefore, a bedtime routine which includes reading could help with relaxing before bed.

Reading supports achievement in other subjects because it helps students to access the wider curriculum. Even maths attainment has been proven to benefit from reading skill because, in order to use maths skills, students are required to read and understand the questions they are faced with. Reading also impacts upon vocabulary, understanding of grammar, spelling and writing skills. 

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body – Richard Steele


Year 7 students are given a reading test in the first term to decide which students should have additional reading intervention. Reading assessments take place in English throughout the year. This enables close monitoring of each student’s progress in reading and allows for appropriate interventions to be put in place by the SENCo or Head of English, if required.

Interventions are put in place for students whose reading is below expectation on entry with additional opportunities to practise reading in a 1:1 or small group setting with a TA or the use of an online programme such as those listed below.  

  • Lexia is a web-based reading and phonics programme for students in Y7-9 which is completed for 20 minutes 3x per week. Students are also encouraged to use the programme at home.
  • IDL (Indirect Dyslexia Learning) is a personalised spelling computer programme using a multi-sensory approach for students in Y7-11 which is completed for 20 minutes 2x per week. Students are also encouraged to use the programme at home.
  • Catch-up literacy is a structured 1:1 reading programme delivered twice a week using a book-based approach to support students in their reading both through word recognition processes (including phonics) and language comprehension processes.
  • READ is a 1:1 phonics intervention aimed specifically at students with severe dyslexia and delivered by specialists from the LA Inclusion Support Team.



Research by the National Literacy Trust showed that reading for pleasure increased during the 2020-2021 lockdowns; one of the reasons young people gave for this was having the time to read and having fewer distractions. This would suggest that helping your child to balance their time and factor reading into their schedule in a quiet environment would be beneficial.

  • Take an interest in what they’re reading and studying at school by reading around topics as well so that you can engage in discussion about their texts/areas of learning, whilst modelling an interest in reading.
  • Help your child to experience feeling successful with reading. Praise and encourage them, whilst showing interest in what they’ve read.
  • Avoid reading being seen as a chore through requests such as ‘if you read for 15 minutes, you can…’. Whilst this may work for some young people, it is unlikely to lead to reading being seen as an enjoyable activity.
  • Let your child choose what to read, rather than choosing what you think he should read. Encourage your child to read magazines, comics, newspapers and the Internet as well as books.
  • Buy books as presents. You can read TV, film and game tie-ins and books about any other interests such as music.
  • Remember that your child is reading when he is looking at bus timetables, menus, instructions, TV guides, and the Internet - encourage all forms of reading.
  • Try some skimming and scanning together. Skimming is when you read through a piece of text quickly to find out what the main idea is; scanning is glancing through a piece of text to find a specific piece of information.
  • Help your child to work out what an unfamiliar word means by getting them to read the rest of the sentence and look for clues.
  • Help by testing your child when they have spellings to learn, and by encouraging them to look up words they don’t know in a dictionary.
  • Build up the number of words your child knows (their vocabulary).  To help them learn these words, you could ask your child to explain to you what they mean.

Children are made readers on the laps of their parents. 

Further information can be found on the PiXL Reading for Pleasure guidance here.