• Your summer reading lists by Key Stage from Vanessa Thompsett

    Most parents fully understand the benefits of reading for their children’s development, but they may need a bit of guidance on what and at what age to read certain books! Vanessa Thompsett joins us again to make a few recommendations by Key Stage, so our families get some inspiration for their children’s summer reading lists this year.

    Key Stage 2

    -The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, by Joan Aiken. A gothic parody and an excellent introduction to more advanced vocabulary. Miss Slighcarp is a fantastic villain! 

    -Journey to the River Sea, by Eva Ibbotson. A gorgeous adventure into the Amazon, with an examination of what love is and what makes a mother. 

    -Boy, Roald Dahl. An excellent introduction to the genre of autobiography, by an author well known for his children’s stories! 

    Key Stage 3

    -The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank. An autobiography that gives a personal insight into the horrors of the Second World War. 

    -To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. Set in the American South, posing important questions about attitudes to race. 

    -The Other Side of the Dale, by Gervase PhinnDeftly-written comedy by a school inspector, examining the pitfalls of trying to get children to behave! 

    -All The Invisible Things, by Orlagh Collins. Coming-of-age novel in which two teenagers, having been separated, try to work out if their friendship has survived. 

    Key Stage 4

    -The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini. A story of redemption, bittersweet endings and redemption. 

    -The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood. A dystopia for older readers, in which issues around gender and control are explored as well as common dystopian tropes. 

    -Collected short stories by Roald Dahl – The LandladyLamb to the Slaughter and Mary and William are particularly good. Roald Dahl wrote stories for adults, too – dare you read…?!

    -The Bloody Chamber, by Angela Carter. A collection of short, gothic stories, examining femininity, adulthood and transformation. 

    -Small Island, by Andrea Levy. A perfect ‘ensemble’ novel, mingling the stories of very different people and finding out how much they have in common. 

    -Watchmen, by Alan Moore. The seminal graphic novel that explores differing political attitudes, ethical positions and cold baked beans. 


    About Vanessa: Vanessa Thompsett is one of Holland Park Education’s leading tutors. With a degree in English Literature from UCL, Vanessa has been privately tutoring since 2016. She has exceptional results teaching English and Maths for 7+ through A Level and has helped students secure places at schools such as City of London School, Highgate, Godolphin & Latymer, and universities including Oxford, Cambridge and UCL.

    Contact the team at Holland Park Education at +44 207 034 0800, or email enquiries@hollandparkeducation.com for more information on how we can build a Roadmap for reading and other key tools for helping your child reach their full potential!



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