City of Norwich School

Reading at CNS

Reading for purpose and pleasure and wider reading 


At the City of Norwich School we see reading development as an integral part of the school curriculum and our school day. We value the importance of being a confident reader and work hard to develop our students’ reading skills so they can become effective, independent learners.

Reading skills are developed in tutor time and throughout lessons. All students and staff are asked to drop everything and read each day during tutor time which is termed Reading for Purpose. Reading for Purpose resources are provided to further both literacy skills and subject knowledge.

We promote Reading for Pleasure strongly throughout the whole of our school community. We want students to enjoy reading a wide range of different books and be able to discuss authors, books and themes. To support this we have a well-stocked library of fiction to non-fiction texts for Years 7 -13 available to sign out and read at home.

We are an enthusiastic, vibrant reading school with regular reading quizzes and events being held; from the Accelerated Reader quizzes throughout Years 7 and 8, to participating in national literature competitions. We value the benefit of students’ developing wider reading skills outside of school so seek to support this with recommended reading lists and materials throughout the key stages.

Accelerated Reader is a reading management and monitoring programme that aims to foster independent reading. The internet-based software assesses reading age and suggests books that match pupils’ needs and interests. Pupils take computerised quizzes on the books they read and earn points as they progress.

Tutor Reading  

What is the tutor reading programme? 

Every student in Year 7 and 8 will be read aloud to by their form tutor for 20 minutes for seven days each fortnight. All students in each year will read the same book at the same time so that they can chat about the characters and issues with their friends. The books have been chosen after consultation with staff and parents. We’ve aimed for a mixture of traditional and popular ‘classics’, as well as considering the opportunity for diverse representation and important moral and cultural ideas. Mainly though, we have tried to choose much loved books that we think everyone can really enjoy because they are gripping, funny, scary, emotional, thought provoking or powerful.  As well as tutor reading, we will still of course be encouraging students to read widely for pleasure and giving time to library use in English lessons. 

Students in years 7, 8 and 9 have moved on to their second tutor time reading books and this half term they are reading the following: 
Year 7 - Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

A rich fantasy novel set in an alternate world. Northern Lights is the first of the His Dark Materials trilogy, which has been adapted for television by the BBC and can be found on iplayer. Look out for the adaptation of the third novel, which is beginning on BBC 1 soon.  Northern Lights was one of the top 3 parent and staff choices when we ran our tutor reads survey in 2020. 

If students want to read more, we have books two and three in the library- The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. 

If your child is absent for any reason and doesn’t want to miss the story, or if you would like to get a sense of what they are reading, Ms Jillett has been reading the novel in 15 minute segments which are available on our YouTube channel- click here: 

Year 8 - The Giver by Lois Lowry

This dystopian classic is by turns funny, scary and sad. It follows young Jonas, who lives in a world completely free of crime, colour, conflict … and choice. 

Like Northern Lights, The Giver is the first in a series, and students can find books two, three and four (Gathering Blue, Messenger and Son) in our library. 

The Giver has been made into a film recently, which can be found on Netflix and Amazon Prime. 

Students who enjoyed last half term’s read, The Outsiders, can also find the 1980s film of the novel on You Tube. 

Year 9 - Run, Rebel by Manjeet Mann

Year 9 are reading a recent prize-winning novel (UKLA book awards, Guardian best books, Carnegie shadowers’ award) which follows a young girl as she begins to fight back against bullies and her abusive father.  

If they enjoy Run, Rebel, they will like Mann’s other novel, The Crossing, which is in our library. 


 Supporting reading for pleasure at home

 Here at CNS, we are keen to maintain good routines for reading for pleasure at home whenever possible. To support this, we have collected some resources (available on our website and emailed to family accounts) that will enable each student to access a range of fiction and non-fiction materials. The aim is to engage our students in reading outside of their online lessons as a wellbeing activity, and as an opportunity to improve their vocabulary and comprehension levels.

How to encourage your child to read more books

Access to CNS digital reading library, myON

Trying to establish or support a regular reading routine is especially important with Years 7 and 8. As students cannot get out to the library physically, we have purchased a license for students to access a digital library called myON. myON is a digital library where students can access more than 6,000 books. There is a wide range of material - everything from graphic novels to classics. This digital resource is easy to use and can be personalised according to individual interests, encouraging students to explore the different categories and see what interesting books they can find.

myON also ties in with Accelerated Reader to support reading, so there is information about book levels (reflecting the level of challenge) and the option for students to take the AR quiz for each book they read. Students have an AR ‘Reading Range’ generated by a test taken earlier in the year to help guide their choices.

Students in Years 7 and 8 should all be able to access myON using the same login details as for Accelerated Reader:

  • user name = first initial + surname (e.g. wshakespeare)
  • password = cns123

myOn - Guidance for parents and carers


Ormiston Academies Trust OAT Collaborative Reading of Treasure Island

OAT has compiled a series of videos of staff reading chapters of this exciting classic. There is a slide below with the link and a PDF which you can download to read along with. More chapters will be released each week. 

Collaborative reading

Treasure Island


Oak Academy Virtual Library

Oak National Academy and the National Literacy Trust have created a virtual library to enable students to keep accessing books and related content. Each week there will be content relating to an ‘author of the week’ including a whole book (and/or audiobook) made available for free during that week. Although aimed mainly at primary school children, the books featured so far will certainly appeal to many students in Years 7 & 8.

 This week’s author is Nizrana Farook with her book The Girl who Stole an Elephant, so be sure to read it while it’s still available. A new author will follow soon.

Norfolk Public Libraries (NCC)

Norfolk public libraries are always a great place to access reading material and other free resources. Although it is not currently possible to physically borrow books due to temporary library closures, many online resources such as ebooks can still be accessed (subject to availability). Membership is required in order to borrow and you can apply to join online if you need to do so.

Of particular interest to students will be the Children’s eLibrary and the Young Adult eLibrary (aimed at older ages) which offer ebooks and audiobooks under a range of categories such as ‘Favourite Fiction’ and ‘Manga Collection’.

CNS Booklist suggestions

Finally, our English department has compiled some suggested books, Ted talks and videos for both Key Stage 3 (Years 7 to 9) and Key Stage 4 (Years 10 and 11) which students may enjoy.

Key stage 3 wider reading

Key stage 4 wider reading

Happy reading !

Ms Jean Tillyard Assistant Headteacher