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Aquinas Canon

During form time, students in Years 7 to 9 read a series of books with their form tutor.

Year 7 will start with a non-fiction text, “You are awesome” by Matthew Syed, which will teach them to be resilient and to believe that they can do well in anything that they choose, whether it is sport, science, drama, juggling or physics … as long as they work hard. They will then move on to the classic adventure story, “Treasure Island”, followed by Jewell Parker Rhodes’ “Ghost Boys”.

Year 8 will start with Mark Haddon’s award-winning “The Curious incident of the Dog in the Night-time”, giving them an insight into the life of a boy with Asperger’s Syndrome, who describes himself as a mathematician with some behavioural difficulties and who sees the world in a surprising and revealing way. They will then move on to a selection of Roald Dahl short stories, some of which are unsettling and sinister, but all of which have Roald Dahl’s creative and entertaining use of language. They will finish the year by reading “The Diary of Anne Frank”.

Year 9 will start with the only play in our Canon: Willy Russell’s “Blood Brothers”, which tells the moving tale of twins who are separated at birth, only to meet again later with fateful consequences. They will then enjoy some Sherlock Holmes stories, before reading Orwell’s classic dystopian novel, 1984.

So why have we decided to invest time and money into reading these books with our students?

  • Firstly, we have chosen ambitious texts to introduce students to some of the classics of English literature.
  • They will have the shared experience of reading and discussing a book together.
  • If they enjoy these books, we can recommend further books with similar themes, helping them to develop a love of reading.
  • For each book, we have provided form tutors with key vocabulary sheets to help students to build their understanding of more complex vocabulary. This is crucial for academic success with the new GCSE specifications.
  • We will also use the ideas and contexts of the books to broaden students’ understanding of different times and philosophies.
  • Finally, form tutors will facilitate discussions of the personal, social and moral issues raised in the books.

This is an exciting new project for us, and we hope that you as parents will support your child by asking them about the books they are reading at school and talking to them about the themes in each one.