Reading & Literacy


Whole School Reading Programme

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

At The Lowry Academy we are passionate about developing our students’ reading ability. We run a programme of reading during form time, as we know that if our students are to become proficient readers and foster a lifelong love of reading, we must provide them with as much opportunity as we can to read and enjoy a range of challenging texts.

Reading has been proven to improve memory, the ability to focus and overall mental health. We believe that reading a range of diverse and thought-provoking texts regularly will enable our students to become not only more fluent readers, but better writers, thinkers and increases their chances of academic success.

We read with our students three mornings per week and have selected a range of stimulating texts to spark our students' imaginations; each year group read the same novel, at the same time, to encourage discussion about the novel they are reading. Form tutors read to their students, whilst students follow with a copy of the text and their bookmark. During this time, we also practise reciprocal reading strategies which include: activating prior knowledge, predicting, clarifying, questioning and summarising.  Research has proven that this enables students to improve their reading skills, and begin to think more critically about texts.

Our reading curriculum allows our students to experience texts in which they recognise themselves, but also provides them with cultural capital, as they are taken beyond their own world through exposure to people, places, values and beliefs which they might not otherwise encounter. This provides them with an understanding of diversity, and enables them to develop and discover their own interests.


Our Whole School Reading Programme follows these key themes and genres:

  • Year 7
    • Year 7 will begin their journey in high school by reading ‘Goldfish Boy’, a detective-fiction story about twelve-year old Matthew’ quest to find his neighbour’s missing child, all the while dealing with his own OCD. They also explore themes of childhood and adolescence and the Bildungsroman form in ‘Life of Riley’ and ‘Oliver Twist’ and ideas around conflict, social justice, class and race in ‘Ghost Boys’. In ‘I have no secrets’, the strong female narrator introduces the students to ideas about empowering the voiceless within society.  
  • Year 8
    • In Year 8, students build on the Bildungsroman form by reading books which deal with issues around identity, growing-up, dysfunctional families and disability. Students continue to the read about the lives of characters from very different social backgrounds in ‘The Curious Incident of the dog in the Night Time’, a murder-mystery form the perspective of a young, autistic narrator, ‘Noah Can’t Even’ and ‘The Boy Who Steals Houses’ in which ideas around class and masculinity are explored.
  • Year 9
    • Year 9 continue with the themes of social justice, relationships and identity with ‘Noughts and Crosses’, written in the dual-narrative form. Students are then introduced to ‘Adrian Mole’ for a more light-hearted look at what it means to be a teenager and navigate this often confusing stage! ‘Girl on a Plane’ exposes the students to the story of a real-life plane hijacking, and the bravery and resilience of the fifteen-year old narrator, Anna.
  • Year 10
    • In Year 10, students continue to explore social issues with ‘The Hate U Give’ and can make links to previous texts they have encountered, and the social issues explored in different cultures and settings. Students also revisit the murder-mystery genre with ‘One of us is Lying’ which again is written from a multi-narrative perspective with teenage narrators. Year 10 continue to explore identity and race through ‘Pigeon English’ which offers a progression from ‘Ghost Boys’ and ‘Noughts and Crosses’ though the experience of its young, immigrant narrator and experiences of growing up in modern Britain.

We encourage our students to discuss these texts during their social times and with you at home, so please ask your child about what they are reading at school. You can support your child by harnessing their enjoyment of particular genres through encouraging them to read other similar books. Our school library has a wealth of genres and books at your child’s fingertips available for them to loan.

To help students continue their reading journey over the summer here is a link to the World Book Day website with reading recommendations - Reading Recommendations (


Explicit Teaching of Vocabulary

The explicit teaching of vocabulary is something that we have worked hard to embed within each subject. Our subject leaders have worked hard to ensure that vocabulary is mapped into schemes of learning according to progression, and this vocabulary is explicitly taught every lesson, in every subject and that this tier 2 and tier 3 vocabulary is carefully aligned to our curriculum design. In lessons, students are encouraged to understand and use academic vocabulary. We aim to provide students with rich oral and written language environment in which they have multiple opportunities to hear, see and use new words in context creating both a vocabulary that is rich in both breadth and depth.


Disciplinary Literacy

Our curriculum is reading and vocabulary rich: we offer regular reading beyond the curriculum opportunities, where teachers complete guided reciprocal-reading of non-fiction extracts with students. The choice of texts are related to the subject, but extend beyond the taught curriculum, to develop both a love of reading and spark an intellectual thirst for knowledge of the subject. For example, in Mathematics, our Year 8 students read an article about Alan Turing, enabling them to make links between the Mathematics curriculum and Computer Science curriculum.

Disciplinary literacy is imperative in our curriculum, and our subject leaders’ ensure that vocabulary is mapped into schemes of learning according to progression, and this vocabulary is explicitly taught every lesson, in every subject. Our teachers are trained in reciprocal reading approaches, and continuously work on developing students’ writing ability according to the subject – we work hard to teach our students explicitly what it means to write, for example, like a Scientist, Historian, Geographer.

We have worked collaboratively with faculties to create subject specific literacy plans rooted within that particular discipline, that address the barriers to accessing the curriculum related to reading, writing and communication. We have further supported teachers to define what effective reading, writing, and talk looks like in their subjects; for example, history teachers might discuss what reading strategies are deployed by historians to appraise historical sources.

We strive to address the academic challenge that out students face to write in different disciplines in an academic and structured way by teaching them the skills that they need to breakdown complex tasks and then transcribe and compose texts as an expert. Students are taught the benefits of planning and redrafting and editing their work to give them the motivation that they require to successfully arrive at the finished article.