Engaging reads for secondary aged children: a parent's guide to holiday reading

As the end of term approaches, many of us will be trying to find ways to keep our children entertained during the break. Reading is an excellent one and we all know that getting children to jump into another world offers numerous benefits, from expanding their imagination; to fostering empathy; to developing critical thinking skills. But, finding the right book to captivate our young people can be tricky and might need some persistence.

Reading lists are a good starting point, you could set your child a task of researching some of the books on the lists below and presenting back to you on the ones they might like to read.

Our reading lists:

Then take a family trip to the library to borrow the books. Your local libraries have knowledgeable staff who can support you to help your child find the right book for them. You can find information (opening times, what you can borrow, computing facilities, study spaces and events) for libraries in Camden and Islington below.



Sparx Reader is available to all students in KS3 and KS4 and has loads of books available online. The programme matches children’s interests and reading ages in order to recommend books to them. Y7 and Y8 are set homework of getting 300 Sparx Reader Points each week. Details of logins etc. are uploaded to Show My Home Work by Ms Ahmed each week.

Once they’ve started reading, you can make the process social by reading together or talking about the story and characters. Family “books clubs” and taking time away from screens and reading side by side can be really lovely. Setting up creative activities around books is not just for little ones, for example making a moment or character from the novel or creating something technical if its non-fiction. I recently set this task for a Y12 class; they really enjoyed it and made some beautiful and more importantly thoughtful pieces.

Sarah Lester
Director of Learning – QTLA