On our Weekly Reading Challenge for KS4

new logo weekly reading challenge

Every week, as part of their homework, our year 10 students will be set a directed reading homework. They will be sent a link or PDF to an article, short story or extract and given a week to read it. This will be followed up with a 5-a-Day starter and a discussion about what they’ve read at the start of a Language lesson. Reading widely is intrinsically valuable but they’ll also be exposed to a variety of writing to develop their understanding of how to structure and organise texts for effect.

I’m going to share what we’re setting in this blog post (updated weekly because I want some of the articles to be current and for the fiction to link in with what’s happening in lessons/their lives where possible). If you’d like to do the Reading Challenge with your class I’d absolutely love that and would love to hear how it’s working and how it can be refined/adapted.

Click this link to go to the GoogleDrive with the follow up 5-a-Day starters.

Week 1: Poverty, illness, homelessness – no wonder McDonald’s UK workers are going on strike by Aditya Chakrabortty

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Week 2: ‘The Stormchasers’ by Adam Marek

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Week 3: The parents complaining about strict school rules could do with a lesson or two themselves by Janet Street-Porter


Week 4: ‘The Street That Got Mislaid’ by Patrick Waddington

Reading Challenge Homework 4

Week 5: Help! I’m almost 30 and my friends are procreating like humanity depends on it by Joe Lycett

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Week 6: Down the Rabbit-Hole by Lewis Carrollrabbit hole.png

Week 7: Why it’s time to let go of Let it Go by Rae Earl

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Week 8: Chapter One of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen

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Week 9: Hedd Wyn: the shepherd poet whose story shows the stupidity of war by Giles Fraser

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Week 10: ‘The Wish’ by Roald Dahl

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Week 11: Watch out, manspreaders: the womanspreading fightback starts now by Radhika Sanghini


Week 12: ‘The Selfish Giant’ by Oscar Wilde

oscar wilde

Week 13: ‘Pretend your food is disgusting’ Romesh Ranganathan’s Christmas survival guide for vegetarians


Week 14: ‘Notes from the house spirits’ by Lucy Wood

*As a Christmas holiday treat, this is not a story in print that is freely available so students will listen to Jon McGregor reading it for Radio 4.


Week 15: Why I won’t be making any resolutions this year by Nicky Ellis

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Week 16: ‘The Little Match Girl’ by Hans Christian Andersen

Match Girl

Week 17: How Hitler could solve our housing crisis by David Mitchell


Week 18: The Story of An Hour by Kate Chopin


Week 19: The obsession with strong women is just another way to keep us down by Barbara Ellen

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Week 20: Chapter One of ‘Great Expectations’ by Charles Dickens

wrc20Week 21:



22 thoughts on “On our Weekly Reading Challenge for KS4”

  1. I really like this idea! Thank you so much for sharing. I may actually do it with a new class of year 12 A level Lang students as well.. who have chosen Lang not Lit for A level because they ‘don’t read’ . Grrrr!


  2. Did the McDonald’s one last week with my adult class. It was a great intro to paper 2, which they will know nothing about until after Christmas. It was good to discuss an article of this type without the fear of understanding what Q4 is asking them to do, and they were able to discuss bias and balance, reader response, checking facts, extended metaphors and to find evidence for the writer’s viewpoint. I’m using The Stormchasers this week. Thanks for updating this weekly Rebecca. It’s fab for all ages. I’m also using it as a way into independent learning, where they have to email me for the story or look out for it posted on our closed Facebook group on Friday morning. so far, only two didn’t read it – aiming for 100% this week.


    1. Karen that’s great to hear! I think you can have some great discussions about these texts (and it sounds like you are) and the questions do fit well with Paper 1 and Paper 2 skills.


  3. My group loved The Stormchasers. I asked them in pairs to find and explain language that showed the close, exclusive relationship between Jakey and dad; how the author used colour and its effects on the reader; what we learn about the mother along the way; how the weather relates to the action; and lastly to describe connotations of ‘wounded’ (mother’s voice). We could have done a whole lesson on this. I’m setting The Street that got Mislaid for next week’s challenge. Thanks again Rebecca 🙂


  4. Thank you so much for this. I’m just putting it into our Paper 2 scheme as homework. I tried and failed to do something like this, and really appreciate how much time it takes. I will let you know how we get along!


  5. Thank you for these – my Year 10 class have really enjoyed this and it has got them reading a range of genres. Are you going to be posting any more?


  6. Can I please just leave a GIGANTIC THANK YOU right here. Beautiful resources, exactly what my students need. I have downloaded them, and sent your blog address to my department. I’m beyond grateful.


  7. Thank you so much for these. I email them out to all our year 10 and 11 students. I think it’s a good way to tackle the drop off in reading at KS4 and love that they read the texts on their phones. I encourage them to go on and read linked articles or more chapters. Some do, some don’t, but they all know they have to read the basic piece because they are quizzed on it. Thank you so much for this really valuable resource.


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