We believe the purpose of homework is two-fold: firstly it plays an important role in helping pupils to consolidate their learning: developing something they ‘know’ into something they ‘understand’. Secondly, it plays an invaluable role as children get older in helping them to develop the independence and organisation that is so important later in their life or more obviously when they move to their senior school.
Homework or ‘Studies’ at St John’s for boys in the Middle School (Years 3 to 5) is addressed during academic lessons, where the boys’ needs can be more fully addressed and skills consolidated effectively. Boys are given work to complete independently in much the same way that they would for more traditional homework but this is completed under the supervision of the class teacher.
Boys in the Upper School (Years 6 to 8) will be increasingly set work as they move through this part of the school, which we will expect them to complete independently. They may, if they wish, remain at school and complete this as part of the school day (between 5- 6.00pm during ‘supervised study’ in place of doing an activity) or they may wish to take this home to complete. The purpose of setting work in this manner is to encourage boys to use their time effectively and develop independent study habits and the level of organisation expected of them at senior school.
A list of books recommended by St John's Beaumont's Head of English for boys aged 6 to 13.
Please use this guide to encourage your son to develop and enjoy his reading. There are many reasons to read: to educate ourselves, for entertainment, to promote thought and reflection, to name but a few.
This list is not exhaustive but it does suggest superb reading for all of the boys. It contains recommendations from our pupils as well as from the English Department. Let us begin by considering some of the thoughts expressed about books and reading which have been made by people from all fields of human endeavour.
Mr S Gibbons
There’s more to life than books … but not much more.
Various authors - Aesop's Fables
Allan Ahlberg – Any Title
Hans Christian Andersen – Fairy Tales
Michael Bond - Paddington
Jeff Brown – Flat Stanley
Lewis Carroll – Alice in Wonderland
Roald Dahl - Fantastic Mr Fox
Dick King-Smith – The Hodgeheg
A. A Milne – Winnie the Pooh
Jill Murphy – The Worst Witch
Francesca Simon – Horrid Henry
Oscar Wilde – The Selfish Giant
The English department recommends:
Lots of classics and timeless favourites here. Jill Murphy’s pre-Potter school of witchcraft is great fun whilst AA Milne is still a pure joy.
The real recommendation is to try all of them!
The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them. Twain
Lynne Reid Banks – The Indian in the Cupboard
Sir J.M. Barrie – Peter Pan
L. Frank Baum – The Wizard of Oz
Hilaire Belloc – Cautionary Verses
Eoin Colfer – The Legend of Spud Murphy
Anne Fine – Bill’s New Frock
Norman Hunter – The Incredible Adventures of Professor Branestawm
Ted Hughes – The Iron Man
Mary Norton – The Borrowers
Michael Rosen – Poetry (various)
The English department recommends: Aim to read all of them over the next twelve months. Be sure to read the poetry selections.
You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture.
Just get people to stop reading them.
Allan Ahlberg – Please Mrs Butler (poetry)
Nina Bawden – The Peppermint Pig
James Berry – A Thief in the Village
Enid Blyton – The Adventure Series
Frances Hodges Burnett – The Secret Garden
Eoin Colfer – Artemis Fowl series
Frank Cottrell Boyce – Millions
Helen Cresswell – Moondial
Richmal Crompton – Just William
Alan Garner – Elidor
Kenneth Grahame – Wind in the Willows
Anthony Horowitz – The Diamond Brothers
Gene Kemp – Tyke Tiler
Dick King-Smith – The Sheep Pig
George Layton – The Fib
C.S Lewis – The Chronicles of Narnia
Michael Morpurgo – The Wreck of the Zanzibar
Robert C.O’Brien – Mrs Frisby and the Rats of Nimh
J.K Rowling – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Robert Louis Stevenson – Treasure Island
The English department recommends: Richmal Crompton his genius still shines brightly – the William books are so much more than period pieces. Other favourites would include Artemis Fowl and Conrad’s War.
I find television to be very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go in the other room and read a book.
David Almond – Skellig
Roald Dahl – Boy and Going Solo
Franklin W. Dixon – Hardy Boys
Russell Hoban – The Mouse and his Child
Anthony Horowitz – Alex Rider stories
Rudyard Kipling – The Jungle Book
George Layton – The Swap
Penelope Lively – The Ghost of Thomas Kempe
Edith Nesbit – Five Children and It
Philippa Pearce – Tom’s Midnight Garden
Philip Pullman – The Ruby in the Smoke
Rick Riordan – Percy Jackson stories
J. K Rowling – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Lemony Snicket – A Series of Unfortunate Events
Jonathan Swift – Gulliver’s Travels
J. R. R Tolkien – The Hobbit
The English department recommends: Roald Dahl’s autobiographies are wonderful. Hoban’s book is beautifully realized – deep, moving and satisfying at many levels. Penelope Lively is one of the finest writers of the latter part of the twentieth century. The Pullman, Riordan and Layton are also great reads. Probably best to aim to read them all over the next twelve months.
Richard Adams – Watership Down
Nina Bawden – Carrie’s War
John Buchan – The 39 Steps
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – Sherlock Holmes
Helen Cresswell – Bagthorpes Unlimited
Charles Dickens – David Copperfield
Anne Fine – Flour Babies
Anne Frank – Diary of a Young Girl
Alan Gibbons – Shadow of the Minotaur
H. Rider Haggard – King Solomon’s Mines
Charlie Higson – Silverfin
Robin Jarvis – The Whitby Witches
Judith Kerr - When Hitler stole Pink Rabbit
Jack London – The Call of the Wild
James Vance Marshall – Walkabout
Michael Morpurgo – War Horse
Robert Muchamore – The Recruit * Parental Advisory re other Cherub books*
William Nicholson – The Wind Singer
Terry Pratchett – The Science of Discworld
Robert Louis Stevenson – Kidnapped
Jules Verne – Around the World in 80 Days
* The Cherub books are rightly popular, providing an exuberant and lively reading experience for twenty-first century young people. Please bear in mind that as the central character progresses through his teens the books’ content becomes, on occasion, progressively more ‘adult’ in terms of subject-matter and the experiences of the hero.
The wise man reads both books and life itself.
Douglas Adams – Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Charles Dickens – Great Expectations
Daphne Du Maurier – Jamaica Inn
John Meade Falkner – Moonfleet
Laurie Lee – Cider with Rosie
Philip Pullman – Northern Lights
Celia Rees – Witch Child
Philip Reeve – Mortal Engines
Mildred Taylor – Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry
H. G Wells – The Time Machine
Oscar Wilde – The Importance of Being Earnest
P. G Wodehouse – Jeeves and Wooster stories
The English department recommends: Great Expectations is the must-read here. It’s gripping, humorous and terrifying by turn. Lee’s Cider With Rosie is one of the essentials too - early years autobiography, beautifully written with a poetic yet approachable style. Again all of these should be read – the late Robert Westall is a personal favourite whilst Wodehouse is simply the most comic English writer there will ever be – urbane, dry and hilarious every time.