Literacy for Learning


Our school library is a bright and exciting place at the heart of the school. It is a vibrant space for our students to learn and relax in.

We are passionate about reading at Patcham High, and committed to helping our students become life-long readers. We have over 10,000 books available for loan, and strive to provide the best in non-fiction and classic fiction alongside the latest best-sellers and popular Young Adult (YA) titles.

We have computers available at break, lunch and after school for doing homework, studying and book quizzes.

The library is staffed from 8.30am to 4pm, and the librarians are here to help support your reading and learning.

We run a dynamic programme of brilliant extra-curriculum activities to get involved in such as Nanowrimo’s Young Writers’ Programme (, a weekly Homework Club, participation in the Amazing Book Awards (, a Student Committee, Student Librarians and book groups.

The library supports two core programmes at the heart of our reading culture: DEAR and AR.

What is DEAR?

Research has repeatedly proven the link between sustained daily reading and improved academic performance and wellbeing. Every day at 11.10am, the entire school- including all the staff- Drops Everything And Reads! DEAR has helped create a strong reading community at Patcham High School, and it’s brilliant to see our students developing such strong reading skills, and reaping the rewards of their commitment.

What is AR?

Accelerated Reader is a computer program that helps teachers manage and monitor children’s independent reading practice. Students pick a book at their level and read it at their own pace. When finished, they take a short quiz on the computer. AR gives both children and teachers feedback based on the quiz results, which the teacher then uses to help students set goals and direct ongoing reading practice.

Accelerated Reader ensures that students at all levels achieve and make optimal progress. The program helps motivate pupils to read by guiding them to books that are just right for them and promoting rewards for their progress.  Pupils can then build on their reading skills and enjoy reading, becoming confident, independent readers.

How does it work?

Pupils take a STAR Reading test to assess their reading level three times a year.

Star Reading is a computer-adaptive reading test used to assess pupils’ reading ability and to determine their recommended level. The results of this assessment provide valuable information for teachers.  The STAR test results offer a recommendation of the ideal readability level of books each pupil should read at – their ZPD.

Pupils then choose and read a book from the school library at the right level for their individual needs. Once they have finished their books, they take an online AR quiz.

Why does Patcham High use AR?

The AR programme has proven to have excellent results in developing students’ reading skills and identifying students that need further support.

It allows us to develop an individualised reading practise for each student, to set specific targets and – crucially- monitor progress made.

Patcham High is committed to developing excellent reading habits for all of our students, and AR is an essential tool in this aim.


Want to know more?

AR Parent Guide

Parents Guide to AR Condensed Version

What Parents Need to Know

Using Home Connect

You can also monitor your child’s reading progress through home connect.

Through home connect you can:

  • Track your children’s reading from home using the internet site, home connect.
  • Set up your email address to receive automatic feedback and updates.
  • ‘My bookshelf’ shows all books the pupil has read and quizzed.


Instructions To Access Home Connect.

  1. Go to the Patcham High School website:
  2. From the menu, hover over the ‘Links’ button and click on the Home Connect
  3. Log in. User Name and Password is the same as your child uses to log in at school.
  4. Enjoy navigating the colourful and user friendly screen – speak with your child about their reading, books and quiz score.

Want a step by step video tutorial? Please visit:


Supporting Reading at Home

  • As with anything, performance improves with practice. Encourage your child to read at home. When reading with your child, stop and ask questions to be sure your child comprehends what he/she is read. Make learning a family affair!
  • Create a culture of reading in your household by reading with your child, starting a home library, visiting your local library or bookstore on a regular basis, letting your child see you reading, and discussing books that each of you has read.
  • Reading with your child, no matter what the child’s age, is an important part of developing a good reader and building a lifelong love of reading and learning.
  • Reading nights – an excellent way to get together as a family. The local library has multiple copies of books, so you might try reading the same book as your child and let the discussions commence.
  • Speak with your child about the book they are reading. Useful questions to ask – do you like your book? What’s happened so far? What do you think will happen next? Who is your favourite character? Why?
  • Search for books with your children at
  • You can also monitor your child’s reading progress through home connect To find out more, click on Home Connectin the menu under ‘Links’.

Click here for more tips for parents.


Other useful websites  – an excellent way to interact with other readers, read and write reviews of the books you read  – a fabulous online resource to help you find new books


If you want any more information about AR, DEAR or anything related to Patcham High School Library, please feel free to contact us on 01273 503908 ext 248, or email or

We hope you’ve found this helpful and that it’s given you an insight into our reading practise at Patcham High!

Vicky Jarvis and Sarah Braiden,

School Librarians at Patcham High School