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The Power of Reading

The past 2 years have seen us focus our attention on the joys of ‘Reading for pleasure.’ 

The National curriculum includes the wonderful line: 
 ‘Reading widely and often opens up a treasure house of wonder and joy for curious minds.’ 
How true this is! But as a school we know that we have to be the role models to inform, encourage and inspire the children in our care, to seek out the pleasures to be found, in the books at their fingertips. 

Why focus on Reading for pleasure? 
1. Well, firstly – WE LOVE READING. WE LOVE BOOKS. WE LOVE STORIES – and we want the children to get hooked on books, taking it on into secondary schools and developing a life-long love of reading.

2. Secondly, the positive effect that reading for pleasure has on confidence and success across every area of the curriculum is clearly documented: o Children who read for pleasure are likely to do significantly better at school than their peers, according to research from the Institute of Education (IOE 2013) o Reading for pleasure was found to be more important for children’s cognitive development between ages 10 and 16 than their parents’ level of education. o The combined effect on children’s progress, of reading books often, going to the library regularly and reading newspapers at 16 was four times greater than the advantage children gained from having a parent with a degree. o Research notes that reading for pleasure had a strong effect on children’s vocabulary development, and also on spelling confidence and maths. 

3. Finally, the worries… 

  • International evidence suggests that children in England continue to read rather less independently and find rather less pleasure in reading than many of their peers in other countries (Twist, Schagen and Hodgson, 2003; 2007). 
  • In the 2006 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) reading attainment fell significantly in England and only 28% of the English children reported reading weekly compared to an international average of 40%.  PIRLS data also reveals that nearly 30% of English 15 year olds never or hardly ever read for pleasure; 19% felt it was a waste of time and 35% said they would only read if they were obliged to do so.  UKLA RESEARCH shows: 42% of pupils are likely to have turned off reading for pleasure before they reach secondary school year.

The Power of Reading

St. Peter’s is a place books are: read, valued, enjoyed, discussed, reread.

This year, we are continuing to enthuse our children with a love of books and reading through becoming a Power of Reading School. Our English curriculum uses quality children’s literature and proven creative teaching approaches to support and develop a high quality literacy curriculum and a whole school love of reading and writing.

 For a book to be on our English curriculum it has to have many distinct and different elements. They are a collection of books that are emotionally powerful: books with storylines and plots that allow opportunities to explore dilemmas, challenges, morality and ethics; protagonists that children can identify with. But above all, texts take you inescapably into the world of the book - a book you can lose yourself in. Our English curriculum showcases a breadth of types of texts as well: narrative, poetry, traditional tales, texts with powerful illustrations, and interesting non-fiction texts.

All the books we have chosen lend themselves to sustained study in a primary classroom.  We need to be able to see where we can offer in depth and real writing experiences, meaningful study of literary styles and rhythms, opportunities for response that is creative and open-ended, all whilst keeping children engaged with the characters and the story as a whole.

In Power of Reading sequences we don’t shoehorn in grammar tricks or comprehension exercises. The power of the study, the reason teachers tell us children are motivated and engaged to be readers and writers, is because the teaching sequences respect the authenticity of the text, scaffolding understanding and subject knowledge, showing children examples of real and powerful writing and text construction from which they can learn.

We are passionate about books and literature, we are all keen readers with firm ideas about what we want to see in our English curriculum.  We make sure we have a range of text types, a range of authors, a balance of the new and the classic and books that reflect the realities of children in our classrooms