Reading for Breadth

Resources, ideas and prompts for discussion related to Challenge and Engagement

Getting learners to pursue our subjects beyond the classroom

Reading around the subject can add richness and breadth to learner subject knowledge, and can also provide a great platform for moving on to further study. While maintaining a sense of realism that the reading capabilities of learners will vary and can definitely limit the impact of some of these approaches, it is worth considering how often young people can and will exceed our own expectations! Therefore perhaps we could:

  • Promote and advertise subject specific websites in and around our classrooms (linked to careers too). Some teachers use QR codes so these can be accessed using devices.
  • Have subject linked academic books in the LRC, or stocks of articles from journals photocopied kept in key classrooms (particularly good at KS5).
  • Use subject Twitter accounts to share and publicise interesting links and current affairs.
  • Produce subject linked reading lists that can be shared with learners and their families and maybe given out during literacy or open evening events.
  • Celebrate your reading with students…use “I am currently reading…….ask me about it!” type displays in a prominent position in your classroom/near the entrance.

Responsibility for Reading is not just with English

Many subjects can explore and make reading a valid and contributory priority, as opposed to a ‘bolt on’ that competes for time. Wider reading doesn’t have to be about fiction, but other media, newspapers, online reports or others that would benefit a topic or aspect of the curriculum. Tasks can be set to make this structured and purposeful where reading for information and research is the focus.

Some examples of how this could look…

A piece of text is shared and has to be read as a form of a guided comprehension exercise in order for the questions to be completed on the answer sheet. Questions begin at surface level then become deeper. This is example is from Geography (source in caption) and can be applied to other contexts.

Guided reading resource by Calvin Hand (@MrHand__ on Twitter and

Similar to the above, below is a simple grid to direct learners to a section or paragraph at a time and to extract and one piece of information from it.

Supporting Reading for Information and extracting from text

Finally this worksheet includes answers that would benefit from some extra research. To avoid learners disappearing down a Google ‘rabbit-hole’ the specific piece of reading the teacher wanted them to look at has been included as a QR code that they can view by pointing their camera phone/iPad at or similar.

QR Codes used to add links to key reading

Associated further reading and references:

  • ‘Chapter 1: Challenge’, in Allison, S. and Tharby, A., 2017. Making Every Lesson Count. Carmarthen: Crown House.

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