A secondary school is encouraging more students to read by starting their day reading the same book together.

Form time reading has been introduced to Year 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12 students at Epping St John’s Church of England School, on Bury Lane, Epping.

The move is to further build the profile of reading at the school, as well as giving pupils the basic skills they need to access the curriculum.

Naomi van der Lith, assistant headteacher, said: “Reading has a knock-on effect in all subjects. When students feel empowered to read, they can access a whole range of subjects.

“Even for those who are less confident in reading, we have audio versions of the books to assist them.

“By even just listening to someone else reading, they will get to the point where they feel they can participate and have the confidence to read in class.

“We also want to develop that love for reading. So few students read complete novels these days, so we are tackling that with this project.

“As reading has such a knock-on effect, we do not feel it is down to just the English department to tackle it. It is proving to be a really positive whole school initiative.”

Group reading sessions are being led by form tutors and Year 12 students who are helping their younger peers.

Students are reading The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Private Peaceful, Heroes, Stone Cold and The Kite Runner.