Reading at HeartlandsBeyond Words_General

Beyond Words is our whole school reading programme that creates responsible, resilient and reflective readers. The scheme personalises students’ reading and allows their teachers and you at home to track and encourage rapid progress.   

Students will be guided towards reading books which are appropriate for them and which will allow them to show their understanding by completing quizzes, aiming for 85%. We will test students 4 times a year to give us accurate and detailed information on their reading ages. Year 7s are tested during Transition day to enable the scheme to start immediately upon their arrival.

Please continue to encourage your child to read for a minimum of 20 minutes a day and sign their Reading Log in the back of their planners. We will be holding essential information evenings for parents of KS3 students throughout the year, which will provide further information and advice on how to support your child with their reading at home.

How does the school determine students’ reading level?
Heartlands uses a  STAR Reading™ test taken 4 times a year.

What should my child’s reading age be?
Easy – How old are they?
If their reading age is below their chronological age – they need to catch up.

What is a Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD)?
ZPD is the range of books that will challenge a student without causing frustration or loss of motivation.
Their ZPD will improve the more they read.

The range goes from 1–12 and is not linked to levels or GCSE grades. They will have a range from which to pick books from e.g. 3.2–4.8. To find out a book’s level, you can visit and search for the title.

How can I see my child’s progress?
By logging in to Home Connect from the Heartlands website using your child’s login details and setting up email notifications. or


Please see below reading list suggestions

AR level Author Title Description
2 Carter Good luck, bad luck Jade checks her email – and finds a nasty chain letter. It says that she and the Crew will have bad luck all day. Jade must save the Crew. Will this be her lucky day?
2.3 Simon Don’t be horrid, Henry! It’s a shock for Horrid Henry when Perfect Peter is born, and, despite his efforts, he can’t manage to get rid of him. But the day comes when Henry finds himself saving Peter from a big fierce dog, and discovers that it is rather nice to be a hero.
2.5 Orme Boffin Boy and the Forest of the Ninja When his friend Wu Pee joins a gang of Ninja’s, Boffin Boy must enter into the forest to find out why.
2.6 Dhami Grow up, Dad! Robbie’s dad just doesn’t understand him so Robbie wishes he could be 11 years old – just like Robbie. But he never imagines his wish will come true.
2.8 Gibbons The dying photo A strange man takes a photo of Jimmy’s family. As the camera flashes, Jimmy’s parents vanish. The only clue is a picture of his mum and dad screaming. Jimmy is alone. Nobody believes him. Is he going mad? Or can Jimmy find the man who took his parents from him – and get them back?
2.9 Hurn Mystery Mob and the conker conspiracy Another adventure for the Mystery Mob!
2.9 Morpurgo Wartman Dilly’s got a wart. A big, hard, knobbly wart, right on his knee. Soon he’s ‘Wartman’, and everyone’s laughing at him. Dilly doesn’t know what to do – until he meets old Mr Ben, and everything changes.
3 Johnston / Horowitz Skeleton Key: the graphic novel MI6 needs Alex Rider’s help once again. But when a routine reconnaissance mission sets off a terrifying chain of events, Alex is forced to hide out.
3.7 Caldecott How Kirsty Jenkins stole the elephant Kirsty Jenkins adores the allotment her grandfather lovingly tends and, just before he dies, he asks Kirsty to look after it for him. But when horrible Mr Thomas from the council insists it must go to the next person on the waiting list, Kirsty is determined to find a way to keep her promise.
3.8 Johnson Brave new girl Seren is a feisty British Turkish girl, fiercely loyal to her father and his failing restaurant, and to her big family of older and younger siblings. She wants to make things happen, especially some matchmaking for her older sister, Sasha, with disastrous results.
3.9 Ridley Meteorite Spoon A crazy adventure story.
3.9 Ure Gone Missing Jade is fed up with fighting with her mum and step-dad, and her shy friend Honey is having a miserable time with her mum, but when Jade decides they should both run away, Honey isn’t so sure. It’s only when they get to London that Honey shows she has hidden depths, and Jade realises that home is not so bad.
4 Dahl George’s marvellous medicine What will happen when George’s grandmother tastes his medicine?…
4.1 Walliams Billionaire Boy Joe Spud is the richest 12-year-old boy in the world. He has everything he could ever want except for the one thing he really needs: a friend.
4.1 Lawrence Maggot Pie Jiggy McCue is the unluckiest kid in town. He wants some good luck for a change. But instead of luck he gets a genie. A teenage genie who turns against him. Then the maggoty dreams start. Dreams which, with his luck and this genie, might just come true.
4.2 Hicilmaz Girl in red Triggered by the influx of Romanian and Bosnian gypsies from across the Channel, Girl in Red describes a boy’s fascination with an elusive but charismatic girl from a culture that is incomprehensible to outsiders.
4.5 Riordan Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief Percy is half-human teenager, half Greek God. Follow his adventures!
4.5 Riordan The lost hero Jason, Piper and Leo, three students from a school for “bad kids,” find themselves at Camp Half-Blood, where they learn they are demigods and begin a quest to free Hera, who has been imprisoned by Mother Earth herself.
4.6 Hopkins Million Dollar Mates Jess Hall’s dad is the new general manager at Porchester Park, and is moving Jess, her brother and pet cat into a staff apartment there. Jess is dreading the move, until she learns the apartments are strictly A-list only and soon to be populated by actors, musicians, models and millionaires.
5.1 Cabot Avalon High Avalon High, Ellie’s new school, is pretty much what she’d expected. There’s Lance, the hunky footballer. Jennifer, the cute cheerleader. Marco, the troublemaker. And then there’s Will – the most gorgeous guy Ellie’s ever met. She can hardly believe he likes her. But things start getting a little weird!
5.3 Collins Hunger Games Futuristic adventure novel – would you survive?
5.4 Brahmachari Artichoke Hearts Twelve-year-old Mira comes from a chaotic, artistic and outspoken family where it’s not always easy to be heard. As her beloved Nana Josie’s health declines, Mira begins to discover the secrets of those around her, and also starts to keep some of her own.
5.6 King-Smtih The sheep-pig Life on the farm is an adventure when you have a sheep-pig!
5.6 Holm I am David This children’s classic tells the story of a child who escapes from a concentration camp and survives untold miseries and dangers to find his way home.
6. 0 Rowling Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone Harry is off to Hogwarts school to learn to be a wizard. Join him and his friends as they fight evil!
6.3 Gavin Coram Boy Aaron grows up in the Corum Foundling Hospital, having been saved from death by a boy called Meshak. Meshak, Aaron and Toby, the child of an African slave, all have a narrow escape as Meshak’s evil father sets sail to sell them into slavery.
6.4 Sedgwick Flood and fang Meet the wonderfully weird Otherhand family and their faithful guardian, Edgar the raven, and discover the dark secrets of Castle Otherhand. Edgar is alarmed when he sees a nasty looking black tail slinking under the castle walls. But his warnings to the inhabitants of the castle go unheeded.
6.3 Hartnett The midnight zoo Under the cover of darkness, two brothers cross a war-ravaged countryside carrying a secret bundle. One night they stumble across a deserted town reduced to smouldering ruins. But at the end of a blackened street they find a small green miracle: a zoo filled with animals in need of hope.
6.1 Pearce Tom’s midnight garden Tom is not prepared for what is about to happen when he hears the grandfather clock strike thirteen. Outside the back door is a garden, which everyone tells him does not exist.
7.3 Nix Sabriel Sabriel is sent across the Wall to the safety of a school in Ancelstierre. After receiving a cryptic message from her father, 18-year-old Sabriel leaves her ordinary school and returns across the Wall into the Old Kingdom.
7.3 Orwell Animal farm Having got rid of their human masters, the animals of Manor Farm look forward to a life of freedom and plenty. Orwell’s allegoric story of the betrayal of idealism through tyranny and corruption is as fresh today as when it was first published in 1945.
7 Baum The Wizard of Oz We’re off to see the wizard!
9.2 Dickens Great expectations An unknown benefactor provides Philip Pirrip with the chance to escape his poor upbringing. Aspiring to be a gentleman, and encouraged by his expectations of wealth, he abandons his friends and moves to London.
11.3 Dumas The three musketeers One of the greatest adventure stories ever written, the prototype of literary romance.
8.3 Stevenson Treasure Island This classic presents a tale of piracy on the tropical seas, of treachery and greed combined with romance, treasure and adventure.