St Luke’s
Literacy Strategy

 At St Luke’s we aim to help reading become a core part of every student’s life through our tutorial reading programme which gives our students the opportunity to read classic literature three mornings per week. By the end of the academic year, every student should have read 8-15 high quality texts in order to help develop their tier two vocabulary (tutors will explain the meaning of any unfamiliar words to students as they read them).

Classic texts include: ‘1984’. ‘Little Women’, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, ‘Oliver Twist’, ‘Touching the Void’, and ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’. These are just a few titles that our students will be enjoying this year. 


Year 7 book list



Robert Swindells

Martha is twelve – and very different from other kids, because of her parents. Strict members of a religious group – the Brethren – their rules dominate Martha’s life. And one rule is the most important of all: she must never ever invite anyone home. If she does, their shameful secret – Abomination – could be revealed. But as Martha makes her first real friend in Scott, a new boy at school, she begins to wonder. Is she doing the right thing by helping to keep Abomination a secret? And just how far will her parents go to prevent the truth from being known?

A Kestrel for a Knave

Barry Hines

Life is tough and cheerless for Billy Casper, a disillusioned teenager growing up in a small Yorkshire mining town. Violence is commonplace and he is frequently cold and hungry. Yet he is determined to be a survivor and when he finds Kes, a kestrel hawk he discovers a passion in life.

Black Beauty

Anna Sewell

The story is narrated in the first person as an autobiographical memoir told by the titular horse named Black Beauty—beginning with his carefree days as a colt on an English farm with his mother, to his difficult life pulling cabs in London, to his happy retirement in the country.


Neil Gaiman

An adventurous 11-year-old girl finds another world that is a strangely idealized version of her frustrating home, but it has sinister secrets. When Coraline moves to an old house, she feels bored and neglected by her parents. She finds a hidden door with a bricked up passage.

I Am David

Anne Holm


The story of a young boy who, with the help of a prison guard, escapes from a concentration camp in an unnamed Eastern European country and journeys to Denmark.

Kit’s Wilderness

David Almond


Kit has just moved to Stoneygate with his family, to live with his ageing grandfather who is gradually succumbing to Alzheimer’s Disease. Here Kit meets Askew, a surly and threatening figure who masterminds the game called Death, a frightening ritual of hypnotism; and Kit makes friends with Allie, the clever school troublemaker. As Kit struggles to adjust to his new life and the gradual failing of his beloved grandfather, these two friendships pull him towards a terrifying resolution. Haunted by ghosts of the past, Kit must confront death and – ultimately – life.

Little Women

Louisa May Alcott

Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy March are four sisters living with their mother in New England. Their father is away serving as a chaplain in the Civil War, and the sisters struggle to support themselves and keep their household running despite the fact that the family recently lost its fortune. In the process, they become close friends with their wealthy neighbour, Theodore Laurence, known as “Laurie.”

My Family and Other Animals

Gerald Durrell

An autobiographical account of five years in the childhood of naturalist Gerald Durrell, age 10 at the start of the saga, of his family, pets and life during a sojourn on the island of Corfu.

No Fixed Address

Susan Nielsen


Felix Knutsson is nearly thirteen, lives with his mother and pet gerbil Horatio, and is brilliant at memorising facts and trivia. So far, pretty normal. But Felix and his mum Astrid have a secret: they are living in a van.

Private Peaceful

Michael Morpurgo

Set during World War I, Private Peaceful charts eight hours in the life of Tommo, a young soldier at the Front, as he looks back over the formative events of his life: his father’s early death, his relationship with his loving mother and brothers, Big Joe and Charlie, and their beloved schoolfriend Molly.

Northern Lights


Philip Pullman

Lyra is a young girl, raised at Jordan College in Oxford. However, when she thwarts a plot to save her father’s life, she is flung into a world of intrigue, manipulation and war on a scale even she can’t imagine. When her friend Roger is stolen away, Lyra decides to find him and bring him back to his rightful home.

Sherlock Holmes

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Set against the foggy backdrop of London and the English countryside, each story in this collection unravels an exciting new mystery, from mistaken identity and portentous omens to counterfeit currency and jewellery theft.


David Almond

Michael’s family has just moved to an old fixer-upper. But his baby sister is in the hospital with a heart problem, and Michael feels devastated and helpless. As Skellig begins to inhabit Michael’s dreams, he and his new friend, Mina, help Skellig into an abandoned house.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

John Boyne

Nine-year-old Bruno knows nothing of the Final Solution and the Holocaust. He is oblivious to the appalling cruelties being inflicted on the people of Europe by his country. All he knows is that he has been moved from a comfortable home in Berlin to a house in a desolate area where there is nothing to do and no one to play with. Until he meets Shmuel, a boy who lives a strange parallel existence on the other side of the adjoining wire fence and who, like the other people there, wears a uniform of striped pyjamas…

The Diary of a Young Girl

Anne Frank

The real diary of a teenage girl that begins on Anne’s 13th birthday (12 June 1942) when she gets a diary. It tells the story of her family who live in Frankfurt, Germany and suddenly have to go into hiding as a result of Hitler and the Nazi Party’s treatment of Jews in Europe during the second world war.

The House of Silk

Anthony Horowitz

A fine art dealer named Edmund Carstairs visits Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson to beg for their help. He is being menaced by a strange man in a flat cap – a wanted criminal who seems to have followed him all the way from America.

The Midnight Palace

Carlos Ruiz Zafon

When a mysterious threat re-enters the lives of twins Ben and Sheere, separated as babies and reunited as teenagers in 1930s Calcutta, the siblings must confront an unspeakable terror, with the help of their secret society of fellow orphans. 

The Secret Garden

Francis Hodgson Burnett

Mary Lennox is living in India with her wealthy British family. She is a selfish and disagreeable 10-year-old girl who has been spoiled by her servants and neglected by her unloving parents. When a cholera epidemic kills her parents and the servants, Mary is orphaned.

Two Weeks With The Queen

Robert Gleitzman

When his brother becomes seriously ill with leukaemia, Colin is sent to stay with relatives in England. Determined to get the best help possible, he decides to approach the Queen, and failing her, the best cancer doctor in the world. Along the way, he strikes up a touching friendship with a gay man whose partner is dying from AIDS.

Watership Down


Richard Adams

A young rabbit, Fiver, has premonitions of danger and warns his brother Hazel. Together with several other of the younger rabbits, they begin to consider leaving Cowslip. Fiver’s psychic power is established, but his warning is difficult for the others to heed: as rabbits, they are so much bound by tradition that an irrevocable break is not easy to contemplate.



R.J. Palacio

The incredibly inspiring and heart-warming story of August Pullman, a boy with facial differences who enters fifth grade, attending a mainstream elementary school for the first time.

Year 8 book list

Adventures of a Young Naturalist

Sir David Attenborough

In 1954, David Attenborough, a young television presenter, was offered the opportunity of a lifetime – to travel the world finding rare and elusive animals for the London Zoo’s collection, and to film the expedition for the BBC for a new show called Zoo Quest. This is the story of those voyages. Staying with local tribes while trekking in search of giant anteaters in Guyana, Komodo dragons in Indonesia, and armadillos in Paraguay, he and the rest of the team contended with cannibal fish, aggressive tree porcupines, and escape-artist wild pigs, as well as treacherous terrain and unpredictable weather, to record the incredible beauty and biodiversity of these regions.

A Monster Calls

Patrick Ness

The story of thirteen-year-old Conor O’Malley who is struggling to cope with the consequences of his mother’s illness. He is repeatedly visited in the middle of the night by a monster who tells stories.

Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter

Adeline Yen Mah

The autobiography of a young Chinese girl. Born the fifth child to an affluent Chinese family, her life begins tragically. Adeline’s mother died shortly after her birth due to complications bought on by the delivery, marking her as cursed, or ‘bad luck’, by her siblings.

Coram Boy

Jamila Gavin

Otis takes babies and money off desperate mothers, promising to deliver them to the Coram Foundling Hospital in London. Instead, he murders them and buries them by the roadside, to the helpless horror of his mentally ill son, Mish.

How I live Now

Meg Rosoff

An American girl, sent to the English countryside to stay with relatives, finds love and purpose while fighting for her survival as war envelops the world around her. American teenager Elizabeth “Daisy” is sent by her estranged father away from New York to the countryside of England to stay with her Aunt Penn.

Life of Pi

Yann Martel

The story of a young man who survives a harrowing shipwreck and months in a lifeboat with a large Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.

Looking for JJ

Anne Cassidy

Three children walked away from the cottages on the edge of town toward Berwick Waters. Later that day, only two of them came back. . . . Alice Tully knows exactly what happened that spring day six years ago, though it’s still hard for her to believe it. She’ll never be able to forget, even though she’s trying to lead a normal life–she has a job, friends, and a boyfriend whom she adores. But Alice’s past is dangerous, and violent, and sad . . . and it’s about to rip her new life apart.

Maggott Moon

Sally Gardner

The story of a dyslexic schoolboy, Standish Treadwell, who lives in an alternative 1950s Britain ruled by a ruthless regime. As his family and friends disappear around him, Standish finds himself involved in a plot to win the race to the moon.

Mud, Sweat and Tears

Bear Grylls

Autobiography. Bear Grylls writes about three periods before his success as a television personality. First, he recounts his youth on the Isle Of Wight, at prep school, and attending Eton College.


Sarah Crossan

Tippi and Grace share everything – clothes, friends…even their body. This is the sensitive and moving story of conjoined twin sisters.


Anthony McGowan

When Nicky and his learning-disabled brother Kenny come across a rook being attacked by a sparrowhawk, they chase off the raptor and rescue the rook. Kenny is convinced that a good dollop of love and affection is all that’s needed to keep the bird alive but Nicky is sceptical. And in any case, Nicky has other things to worry about, like avoiding the bully at school and finding a way to talk to the girl he likes.

Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different

Karen Blumenthal

Biography. From the start, his path was never predictable. Steve Jobs was given up for adoption at birth, he dropped out of college after one semester, and at the age of twenty-one, he created Apple in his parents’ garage with his friend Steve Wozniack. An avid seeker of disciplines of the mind and body, he battled cancer for eight years, became the ultimate CEO, and made the world want just about every product he touched.

The Giver

Lois Lowry

The story of a brilliant boy named Jonas who happens to live in a society that is being controlled by the rules and tradition of The Elders. Through his wisdom and mannerism, Jonas is selected as the Receiver of Memory, a post that distinguishes him from others and gives him authority.

The Graveyard Book

Neil Gaiman

The story of the boy Nobody “Bod” Owens who is adopted and raised by the supernatural occupants of a graveyard after his family is brutally murdered.

Treasure Island

Robert Louis Stevenson

Set in the days of sailing ships and pirates, Treasure Island tells of the adventures of Jim Hawkins and his search for the buried treasure of an evil pirate, Captain Flint.


Year 9 book list

A Spark of Light

Jodi Picoult

The day starts like any other at the Centre—a women’s reproductive health services clinic—its staff offering care to anyone who passes through its doors. Then, in late morning, a desperate and distraught gunman bursts in and opens fire, taking all inside hostage.

After the Fire

Will Hill

novel about love, hope, loss and, ultimately, courage. We meet Moonbeam after the fire which ripped through her small community, deep in the Texas desert, killing many of her Brothers and Sisters and their leader, Father John.

Beyond the Bright Sea

Lauren Wolk

Twelve-year-old Crow has lived her entire life on a tiny, isolated piece of the starkly beautiful Elizabeth Islands in Massachusetts. Abandoned and set adrift on a small boat when she was just hours old, Crow’s only companions are Osh, the man who rescued and raised her, and Miss Maggie, their fierce and affectionate neighbour across the sandbar. Crow has always been curious about the world around her, but it isn’t until the night a mysterious fire appears across the water that the unspoken question of her own history forms in her heart. Soon, an unstoppable chain of events is triggered, leading Crow down a path of discovery and danger.

Empire of the Sun

J.G. Ballard

A young English boy struggles to survive under Japanese occupation during World War II. Based on J. G. Ballard’s autobiographical novel, it tells the story of a boy, James Graham, whose privileged life is upturned by the Japanese invasion of Shanghai, December 8, 1941.


Robert Cormier

Francis Cassavant returns to his hometown of Monument after serving in World War II. Francis begins his story by explaining the gruesome injuries he sustained when he fell on a live grenade and saved his platoon. His face was permanently disfigured, but he ultimately survived and was awarded the Silver Star medal in recognition of his bravery. After recovering in a veterans’ hospital in England, Francis returns home with one goal: to murder the man who had sent him to war, his childhood hero and fellow Silver Star recipient Larry LaSalle.


Gary Paulsen

Narrated by a young slave girl called Sarny, the story takes place shortly before the Civil War on a Southern plantation and focuses on one slave’s mission to teach other slaves the illegal skill of reading.

Nineteen Eighty Four

George Orwell

Winston Smith wrestles with oppression in Oceania, a place where the Party scrutinizes human actions with ever-watchful Big Brother. Defying a ban on individuality, Winston dares to express his thoughts in a diary and pursues a relationship with Julia.

Noughts and Crosses

Malorie Blackman

The story of two young people suffering from the horrors of racism. Sephy is a cross: black and the daughter of the president. Callum is a nought: white and the lowest of low. When they fall in love it really is a recipe of disaster.

Q&A (Slumdog Millionaire)

Vikas Sawarup

The story of Ram Mohammed Thomas, a 19-year-old orphan from the slums of Bombay. When the novel opens, he is a) a billionaire, having won the billion-rupee prize in a game show, and, b) in jail, the producers having charged him with fraud.

The 57 Bus

Dashka Salter

A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives is a compelling, sometimes emotional non-fiction story of a 2013 assault in Oakland, California, when an African American public school teen boy named Richard set fire to a sleeping, gender-nonconforming white private school teen named Sasha on that bus.

The Book Thief

Marcus Zusak

After the death of Liesel’s younger brother on a train to Molching, on the outskirts of Munich, Liesel arrives at the home of her new foster parents, Hans and Rosa Hubermann, distraught and withdrawn. During her time there, she is exposed to the horrors of the Nazi regime, caught between the innocence of childhood and the maturity demanded by her destructive surroundings.

The Sky is Everywhere

Jandy Nelson

Adrift after her sister Bailey’s sudden death, Lennie finds herself torn between quiet, seductive Toby—Bailey’s boyfriend who shares her grief—and Joe, the new boy in town who bursts with life and musical genius.

The Vanishing of Katharina Linden

Helen Grant

It isn’t ten-year-old Pia’s fault that her grandmother dies in a freak accident. But tell that to the citizens of Pia’s little German hometown of Bad Münstereifel, or to the classmates who shun her. The only one who still wants to be her friend is Stink Stefan, the most unpopular child in school. But then something else captures the community’s attention: the vanishing of Katharina Linden. Katharina was last seen on a float in a parade, dressed as Snow White. Then, like a character in a Grimm’s fairy tale, she disappears. But, this being real life, she doesn’t return.

To Kill A Mockingbird

Harper Lee

Told through the eyes of Scout Finch, you learn about her father Atticus Finch, an attorney who hopelessly strives to prove the innocence of a black man unjustly accused of rape; and about Boo Radley, a mysterious neighbour who saves Scout and her brother Jem from being killed.

Touching the Void

Joe Simpson

The true story of two climbers and their perilous journey up the west face of Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes in 1985. In the mid-80’s two young climbers attempted to reach the summit of Siula Grande in Peru; a feat that had previously been attempted but never achieved.

Year 10 book list

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Benjamin Alire Sanez

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. They seem to have nothing in common. But as they spend time together, they discover a friendship – the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Maya Angelou

In this first volume of her six books of autobiography, Maya Angelou beautifully evokes her childhood with her grandmother in the American south of the 1930s. She learns the power of the white folks at the other end of town and suffers the terrible trauma of rape by her mother’s lover.

I am Malala

Malala Yousafzai

When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley, one girl fought for her right to an education. On Tuesday, 9 October 2012, she almost paid the ultimate price when she was shot in the head at point-blank range.
Malala Yousafzai’s extraordinary journey has taken her from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations.

Lord of the Flies

William Goulding

When a plane crashes on a remote island, a group of schoolboys are the sole survivors. As the reality of their situation sets in, the boys attempt to establish control and their world gradually descends into brutal savagery. 

Never Let Me Go

Kazuo Ishiguro

Set in a dystopian world in which human clones are created so that they can donate their organs as young adults, the novel follows the life story of Kathy, a clone who is raised at a boarding school for future “donors.”

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Mildred D. Taylor

Nine-year-old Cassie Logan lives with her brothers Stacey, Little Man, and Christopher-John on a farm in Mississippi. Unlike most of the black families they live near, they own land, because their father has always believed in the power of owning one’s own property. Even though the children come from a happy home and have more money than some of their neighbours, they are very poor and must endure constant insults and cruelties from the racist white people who live near them.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

Mark Hadden

Christopher is an intelligent youth who lives in the functional hinterland of autism–every day is an investigation for him because of all the aspects of human life that he does not quite get. When the dog next door is killed with a garden fork, Christopher becomes quietly persistent in his desire to find out what has happened and tugs away at the world around him until a lot of secrets unravel messily.

The Green Mile

Stephen King

The Green Mile: those who walk it do not return, because at the end of that walk is the room in which sits Cold Mountain Penitentiary’s electric chair. In 1932 the newest resident on death row is John Coffey, a giant black man convicted of the brutal murder of two little girls. But nothing is as it seems with John Coffey, and around him unfolds a bizarre and horrifying story. Evil murderer or holy innocent – whichever he is – Coffey has strange powers which may yet offer salvation to others, even if they can do nothing to save him.

The Handmaid’s Tale

Margaret Atwood

The Republic of Gilead offers Offred only one function: to breed. If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness. But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire – neither Offred’s nor that of the two men on which her future hangs.

The Help

Kathryn Stockett

The story of black maids working in white Southern homes in the early 1960s in Jackson, Mississippi, and of Miss Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan, a 22-year-old graduate from Ole Miss, who returns to her family’s cotton plantation, Longleaf, to find that her beloved maid and nanny, Constantine, has left and no one will tell her why. 

The Kite Runner

Khaled Hosseini

The story of Amir and Hassan, the closest of friends, as good as brothers, and also experts in the art of kite flying. The two young boys live in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, and this year they are going to try harder than ever to win the local kite-fighting tournament—a popular Afghan pastime, and this is Amir’s one hope of winning his father’s love. But just like the kites battling in the sky, war comes to Afghanistan, and the country becomes an extremely dangerous place.

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Robert Louis Stevenson

In seeking to discover his inner self, the brilliant Dr Jekyll discovers a monster.

The Woman in Black

Susan Hill

Proud and solitary, Eel Marsh House surveys the windswept reaches of the salt marshes beyond Nine Lives Causeway. Arthur Kipps, a junior solicitor, is summoned to attend the funeral Mrs Alice Drablow, the house’s sole inhabitant, unaware of the tragic secrets which lie hidden behind the shuttered windows. It is not until he glimpses a wasted young woman, dressed all in black, at the funeral, that a creeping sense of unease begins to take hold, a feeling deepened by the reluctance of the locals to talk of the woman in black – and her terrible purpose.


Marc Aronson

In early August 2010, the unthinkable happened when a mine collapsed in Copiano, Chile, trapping 33 miners 2,000 feet below the surface. For sixty-nine days they lived on meagre resources with increasingly poor air quality. When they were finally rescued, the world watched with rapt attention and rejoiced in the amazing spirit and determination of the miners. What could have been a terrible tragedy became an amazing story of survival.    

How can parents support literacy at home?

As a parent, there are many ways in which you can support your child with literacy at home. Here are some simple ideas you could try:

  • Encourage your child to read a range of fiction and non-fiction texts including articles, blogs and travel writing.
  • Talk to your child about what they are reading in tutorial. Ask them to explain what is happening in the book and how they feel about it.
  • Read with your child – sharing reading is something you probably did regularly when your child was younger but it shouldn’t stop once they reach secondary school.
  • Help your child to work out what an unfamiliar word means by getting them to read the rest of the sentence and look for clues.
  • Quiz your child on key vocabulary on their knowledge organisers.
  • Ask your child about the word of the week. Can they explain its meaning to you? Can they use it in a sentence?
  • Expect your child to speak in complete sentences – this will help them to develop vital communication skills.

St Luke’s
Sparx Reader

At St Luke’s, we are committed to ensuring that all students are able to read with fluency, enjoyment and comprehension. Evidence suggests that there is a positive relationship between reading frequency, reading enjoyment and attainment; there is also a significant correlation between reading ability and GCSE results across all subjects. Because of this, we have introduced Sparx Reader for our year 7s.

Sparx Reader begins with students reading some texts and answering comprehension questions based on what they have read. Once students have reached their level, it lets students choose from a range of ebooks. As students enjoy their e-readers, Sparx Reader will periodically post quick questions to check comprehension and that they are reading with care. Careful readers earn points so they can track their progress and climb the league table, earning Merits and rewards as they go.

As English teachers, we fully appreciate the importance of getting lost in a great paperback! For our most avid, motivated readers who demonstrate consistent comprehension they will soon unlock Gold Reader, meaning they can read any book from the library or from home by scanning in its barcode.

We hope to get as many of our year 7s onto Gold Reader as possible as reading for pleasure is also associated with improved mental health, creativity and economic outcomes. Therefore, we aim to celebrate those students who are reading more than the allocated amount and will be keeping an eager eye on the number of words we have read as a year group.