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Reading at UCS... a community of readers

At UCS, we understand that good readers are good learners.  Reading is a complex skill and, when our children can do it well, it is the key to their future success in every subject in school.


Reading takes place in every subject area and our students have many opportunities to read increasingly challenging and complex texts at every stage of their learning journey. We know that subject-specific reading is only half the story: regular reading of all kinds makes a huge difference to children’s fluency and skill. Research shows us that students who read regularly in their own time are more likely to achieve well in every area of school life, all the way up to GCSE and beyond. Reading for pleasure is reading for progress.


The benefits of reading are:


  • It improves the functioning of the brain – reading is a workout to keep the brain healthy;

  • It improves vocabulary – reading books enriches word power;

  • It improves the memory – reading activates the hippocampus area of the brain;

  • It improves theory of mind – reading boosts empathy in individuals towards others;

  • It improves knowledge – the more we already know, the easier it is to learn new things.


D.E.A.R Time

Delivered once per week, DEAR (Drop Everything And Read) is a whole school session dedicated to reading. The Drop Everything And Read strategy involves asking learners to stop what they are doing and read for 10 minutes. It is a method that helps build learners’ literacy skills. Furthermore, it gives our students the opportunity to read around their subjects, encountering texts that are carefully selected by their teachers – websites, articles and extracts of longer texts – to help them gain a depth of knowledge and a wider insight into each area of their studies. This kind of regular reading, with support from a teacher, has been demonstrated to impact students’ reading ages to such a degree that there is an increase seen in their grades across every area of the curriculum.


 Form Time Reading


Every student has been introduced to a novel during form time, to promote reading for pleasure.  Students encounter different genres of novel throughout each year group. The programme promotes development of vocabulary, comprehension and fluency of reading, with form tutors leading these sessions and modelling reading aloud.  We have sourced a range of ambitious, classic literature, bringing wonderful stories to form, with content that links to the wider world. Students each have a copy of their text to hold in their hands and to track and follow along.


Century Tech

All students are regular and active users of Century Tech. This is a personalised learning platform that your child will access via their iPad and which offers them a responsive pathway to reach their reading potential through developing excellent comprehension skills.  

Extra Support

If your child needs extra help with their reading, we offer a personalised program of support at every stage. As a school, we subscribe to Lexia learning, which is a structured reading program that accelerates our students’ progress as they become competent and confident readers. We have learning support assistants who are trained to deliver a range of effective reading interventions, from decoding to high level inference. The English department runs period 7 Fast Track reading interventions across every year group. For students who have recently begun to learn English, we run a Language Club to practise everyday English in a small, friendly group setting. We also have parents who volunteer on a weekly basis to support our students through small group reading intervention sessions.


How you can help:

Whatever we do here in school, you are your child’s first and most important teacher. There is so much that you can do at home that will support them on their lifelong journey of learning. For example, it makes a difference when you take every opportunity to read with your child and to talk about their reading. It doesn’t have to be a lengthy novel – a shared newspaper article or a website about their hobby will be a great way in to reading. When our child can see that you value reading, so will they.  Many of our parents volunteer to come in and deliver bespoke intervention programmes with a reading focus, or simply to listen to our students read.  If you would like to be considered as a volunteer please contact the school using the details at the top of this page. 

If you have any questions for us or concerns about your child as a reader, we would love to hear from you.

The Importance of Reading:

Some articles that we recommend your researching include:


Some external website that can be used to get tips for Reading with Your Child are (click image below):


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