Bedminster Down School

Tutor Time Reading Programme

July 2019


Dear Parent/Carer,

As I am sure you will agree, reading is an important way of supporting your child’s learning. Reading widely helps children to engage with important issues in the world around them, develop and understand new vocabulary, and improve academic attainment. Shockingly, research suggests that in order to fully comprehend a text, readers need to understand over 90% of the words within it. Currently, it is difficult for some of our students to understand texts fully because they do not understand enough of the words within them. If our students were to read more frequently, they would not only be exposed to more new words, but also have a greater comprehension of what they are reading.

With this in mind, I am delighted to inform you of the tutor time reading programme that we will launch in September 2019. The programme involves tutors reading books aloud to the students, who will follow along in their own copy of the book provided by the school. When an unfamiliar word is encountered, tutors will explain what this word means.  This means that students will read eight books per year which means that by the time they leave in Year 11, your child will have read forty books additional to those studied in English lessons or any they have read for pleasure. The texts will be age-appropriate, feature challenging and unfamiliar vocabulary, and expose students to culturally relevant issues.

In order to facilitate reading age-appropriate texts, we will be making some changes to the tutor system. Currently, we operate a vertical tutor system where students are mixed from Years 7 to 11. From September 2019, we will move to a horizontal tutor system, meaning that your child will be in a tutor group with other students in their year group. The House system will remain the same, so your child’s current Head of House will continue to be so.

There will be a Parents’ Meeting to discuss any questions that you may have around the reading programme in September.

We passionately believe that through increased reading and helping our children to learn more vocabulary, we will be providing them with the best opportunities for their future.


Yours faithfully,


Mrs D. Gibbs                                                             Mrs E. Alexander

Principal                                                                    Whole School Literacy Lead