Read-Aloud Curriculum

Read-Aloud Curriculum

In partnership with OAT, we have developed an exciting high quality reading curriculum that covers a wide range of thoughts and experiences.  Students have a Read-Aloud session three times a week during their morning registration.

Why should we read aloud?

The benefits of reading for cognitive development are well understood. Through reading, students are introduced to vocabulary, syntactic structures and background knowledge which they might otherwise fail to encounter.

Although Sustained Silent Reading (SSR) programmes are the most effective way to leverage the benefits of reading*, some students are not sufficiently fluent readers to read independently. As a result, SRR programmes can have the unintended effect of widening the attainment gap between fluent and non-fluent readers.

Listening to a skilled reader read aloud provides most of the benefits of SSR with none of the barriers for non-fluent readers. As a result, a Read-Aloud programme is both more likely to narrow the attainment gap and positively influence the reading culture in schools.

Purpose of the programme

  1. Students should be entitled to experience a range of high-quality texts throughout their time at secondary school.
  2. Reading aloud to students is a ‘gap-narrowing’ intervention that will benefit all students but vastly benefit the least advantaged.
  3. Hearing these texts read-aloud is not only likely to improve students’ reading ability and potential for academic success, it will give them access to a world of ideas they may not otherwise be able to experience.

Why a Read-Aloud curriculum?

Supported by the wider Ormiston Academy Trust, we believe students are entitled to experience a wide range of texts, including various ‘classics’ that they otherwise might not encounter. Some students experience the pleasure and excitement of these books outside of schools but for some students school is often more likely the place where they have high-quality texts read to them.

In order to ensure this entitlement is met, the trust has curated a curriculum of books (the OAT Read-Aloud Curriculum) which we believe represent a diversity of thought and experience, as well as being age appropriate for students in different year groups. To ensure students have the best experience we have designed a fully resourced set of materials for training and implementation for each of these texts.

*The English department, library team and literacy intervention team will continue to develop a culture of wider and supportive reading through curriculum time and monitor student wider reading through the reading log, on page 23 of the student planner.

Through our student leadership teams, students will have a choice of text for the school year. The initial text choices for the 21/22 academic year are:

Year 71. Treasure Island, RL StevensonA classic children’s adventure story which gives students some experience of 19th century fiction and is also rip-roaring fun.
 2. Mythos, Stephen FryGreek mythology is foundational to an understanding of Western culture. Stephen Fry’s retelling of these myths makes them fresh and relevant for a new generation but sticks faithfully to the source material.
 3. The Outsiders, SE HintonTough, gritty and, at times, violent, set against 1960s US teenage sub- cultures, this is an ultimately heart warming classic that firmly positions reading as cool and boys as capable of compassion and friendship.
Year 81.Norse Mythology, Neil GaimanGaiman’s retelling of Norse myths is witty and exciting whilst laying the groundwork for understanding how these stories affect us still today.
 2. I Am Malala, Mala YousefThere are few autobiographies as inspirational as this one and few stories of educational disadvantage so severe.
 3. Student choice from Year 7 texts: Treasure Island, RL StevensonA classic children’s adventure story which gives students some experience of 19th century fiction and is also rip-roaring fun.
 4. Flowers for Algernon, Daniel KeyesA stunningly hard hitting sci- fi novel about a mentally disabled man who undergoes experimental surgery to raise his intelligence. It explores ethical and moral themes about how we treat the disabled.
Year 91. Fahrenheit 451, Ray BradburyA still-powerful, dystopian classic sci-fi novel about censorship, conformity and dangers of social media.
2. Things Fall Apart, Chinua AchebeTold from the perspective of Okonkwo, this novel depicts clash of cultures in the late Nineteenth century as European missionaries first encounter the Igbo people of what is now Nigeria.
 3. Empire of the Sun, JG BallardThe story of a boy’s experience of being separated from his parents and interred in a Japanese detention camp in Shanghai during WW2.
 4. Animal Farm, George OrwellAlthough this classic allegory tries to make sense of a specific moment in history, its message of how power corrupts is vital and timeless.
Year 101. The Great Gatsby, F Scott FitzgeraldThe classic novel of the Jazz Age which explores themes of obsession, isolation, crime and loneliness.
 2. Brave New World, Aldous HuxleyArguably the most prescient dystopian novel ever written. Hugely influential on Orwell and widely considered one of the best novels written in English.
 3. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper LeeNot only a classic coming of age story, but a hard- hitting look at the values and prejudices of Depression era America.

If you have feedback on our Read-Aloud curriculum or suggestions for a high quality fiction or non-fiction text that you think the students at the academy would benefit from exposure to, please email

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