Sixth Form Reading Strategy

Sixth Form reading strategy



Building a strong reading culture at Norton Hill School

Reading is central to the success of all students at MNSP Sixth Form. It is recognised as the key way to improve the success of students during their time in Sixth Form, through development of sophisticated technical vocabulary, comprehension of complex ideas and themes, and development of cultural awareness, historically and globally. As well as securing success, it has an equally important role in building a habit that becomes an enjoyable activity throughout life, and also acting as an exciting way to engage students in discussions and debates.


Much research has been undertaken recently that underpins our belief in the importance of reading in school and at home:



  • “The active encouragement of reading for pleasure should be a core part of every child’s curriculum entitlement because extensive reading and exposure to a wide range of texts make a huge contribution to students’ educational achievement.” All-Party Parliamentary Group for Education


  • “Developing a love of reading can be more important for a child’s educational success than their family’s socio-economic background.” Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) 


  • “Young people who enjoy reading very much are three times as likely to read above the level expected for their age as young people who do not enjoy reading at all. “ Children’s and Young People’s Reading, National Literacy Trust 


  • “Other benefits include an increased breadth of vocabulary, pleasure in reading in later life, a better understanding of other cultures, better general knowledge and even ‘a greater insight into human nature’.” Reading for Pleasure: A research overview, National Literacy Trust.


The Sixth Form Reading Culture:

We have developed a reading culture that runs through all our activities and lessons at MNSP Sixth Form. Our reading culture:


  • Supports readers so that they can access all materials needed to be successful at their chosen Level 3 courses.


  • Students read accurately and fluently, so they can access texts in different subjects. 


  • Recognises that being able to read well is a key life skill for students, whatever their background 


  • Acknowledges that not all students will have had the opportunity to develop a love of reading at home, so this has to be encouraged at Sixth Form 


  • Builds time for all students to read independently during the school week


  • Actively promotes reading for pleasure


We are aware of, and tackle the key barriers to reading in our society, as defined by recent research(Wilkinson et al: Reading during adolescence: Why adolescents choose (or do not choose) books, 2020)


Nationally, students aged 11 to 16 have said:

  • They do not have enough time to read, as school, homework, revision, etc were regarded as a priority over reading books for pleasure.


  • They were avid readers as children but that they had just lost the habit,


  • They have distractions, specifically technology, but also seeing friends and playing sports, as taking up their time.


  • Book reading was seen to be effortful compared to other activities such as watching television. 


  • Others felt that reading books was not cool, or that it was difficult to find books to interest them, 


  • That no one really encouraged them to read for pleasure anymore.

To overcome these barriers at Norton Hill School, we have developed six strategies for promoting reading, based on ‘Building an outstanding Reading School’, from Oxford School Improvement, 2017:

How we are improving reading at Norton Hill School

1. Supporting staff

Staff and students who work to support students with their reading are trained in how to be sensitive, supportive coaches. There are strong links with the SEN department who provide key information on learning needs of students, which supports teachers in their work with students on reading. Teachers are also provided with Reading Ages, to help them manage the reading requirements within their subject.


2. Teaching Reading

 We also acknowledge that all teachers are ‘teachers of reading’, and are developing a range of strategies to help students develop their reading within any lesson.

Sixth Form PSHE/ Tutor sessions cover strategies such as speed reading and how to summarise and pick out important information from academic texts. 

These skills are supported and reinforced by subject teachers. 

3. Working with parents and carers

Students are given an extension work pack in which guidance on wider reading to develop and enhance their understanding of their subjects is given. Parents/ Careers are given a copy of this as well as a handbook for parents so they can support and encourage students to ensure they are making the most of the opportunities that wider reading can give them. 

4. Developing the reading environment

The library is a key resource which is open throughout the whole day, including break and lunch, and provides a rich environment celebrating the latest books, as well as authors we have hosted previously. The library has a bespoke area for Sixth Form students encouraging them to read both for pleasure and to support academic learning. Students also all have access to an online library and a wide range of digital periodicals. 

Appropriate books for students to read for pleasure are displayed in the Sixth Form centre and the library to highlight the resources available to them.