The Comic Strip History of the World
by Tracey Turner and Sally Kindberg

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The introduction by Alec Williams provides lots of handy tips on getting everyone reading!


17. Ideas for Key Stage 4/5

  • Make sure reading is visible across the whole school - pictures, posters, displays, books in tutor groups, etc., all of which include older students.
  • Organise parallel activities for KS4/5 students, if they’re excluded from younger ones - e.g. a special ‘pub style’ quiz for Year 9 to Year 11s who are too old for the Kids’ Lit Quiz.
  • Use the power of TV tie-ins; e.g. Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series which is currently being filmed.
  • Use photographs of staff, and older students, with their favourite books - or with their ‘quick quotes’ about what reading means to them.
  • Get staff and students to send postcards about what they’ve been reading during summer (this works well at the Year 7 transition stage, too).
  • As with other ages, screen reads are a powerful draw for older students.
  • Do you have any special sections of older fiction? (‘Fiction Plus’, or ‘Fiction Extras’ are possible titles)? Check your library’s signposting - can students easily find these?
  • Does your library direct students to suitable adult titles well enough? Does it genuinely make links between similar genres in both age ranges? Try a ‘Liked this? Try this!’ promotion which moves from children’s to adult fiction. These ideas are an alternative to a complete ‘Key Stage 4 area’ in the library, which can have drawbacks, and creates more places in which to look for a particular author or series.
  • Many teachers are simply unaware of good young adult titles, that they could then recommend. Give them a list of the best, and encourage them to sample a few.
  • Focus on peer recommendations. With this age group, success is even more ‘word of mouth’ than in Key Stage 3.
  • Have displays of ‘Staff Picks’, to reinforce the notion of adults reading for pleasure.
  • Use fun activities to encourage students to recommend books to each other: ‘Blind Date’, ‘Speed Dating’, and so on.
  • Remember biographies and memoirs (e.g. A Child Called It).
  • Use Sixth Formers’ (sometimes!) superior book knowledge and reading experience to enthuse younger students - as coaches for the Kids Lit Quiz, for example; as Reading Champions, Book Pushers, Book Doctors/Book Selectors.
  • Try ‘Richard and Judy’ style reading campaigns/awards using Head Boy and Head Girl, for Sixth Formers (you can re-title the awards with the student names involved!).
  • It’s important to get staff even more involved at this level, to up the discussion and change the atmosphere; Joint Staff/Sixth Form reading groups, for example.

Finally... the real secret to success in Key Stage 4 and 5 lies in the work you do in Key Stage 3!

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Department for Children, Schools and FamiliesSchool Library AssociationReading for Life

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