Alongside laying the foundations of reading with phonics, nothing captures the attention of a newly independent reader more than the lure of a great book. Making sure the very best books make it into our children' hands will inspire our children and boost their progress in reading.
We make informed choices about the books we use in English lessons and identify quality literature that will ensure children are exposed to the very best, most current fiction, including titles that reflect modern society and represent more diverse authors.
A high-quality text will:
1 …have a strong narrative that sustains multiple readings.
Reading a book multiple times not only increases familiarity with the story and fosters greater emotional engagement, it also sets up opportunities for a much deeper understanding of the language, characters and story structure. Along with increased comprehension and retention comes the child’s ability to retell or reread the story for themselves. The comfort and thrill of knowing what’s coming next, looking forward to their favourite bit or being able to join in, will strengthen their attachment to the story and nurture a life-long love of books and reading.
2…provide many opportunities for discussion and writing.
A high-quality text will lend itself to close scrutiny, stimulate discussion and provide opportunities for ‘wonders’ and questions to be asked. A text that is open to interpretation, leads to conversations about wider historical or social themes or holds thought-provoking illustrations that support, extend or provide insight, will contain this important secret ingredient.
3…have been written by a wordsmith.
A skilled author will stimulate, engage and educate the reader. Their well-crafted words might incorporate figurative language to ignite imaginations, convey a message, build imagery, deepen understanding or evoke an emotional response. We ensure that the texts which are presented to our children will broaden their experience of language, provide a stimulating reading challenge and be a superb model for their own writing. Picture books should play with rhyme, rhythm and other language patterns skilfully, to make reading both enjoyable and meaningful.
4…help children connect with who they are and reflect upon the lives of children from cultures and backgrounds different to their own.
High-quality texts will support all children to thrive by acting as mirrors where they see themselves reflected as the main protagonist and by opening new windows into the worlds of those whose experiences and perspectives are different from their own, including different cultures. Quality texts will offer diverse characters to talk about, support writing from different perspectives, reflect the real world and both represent and widen the horizons of the children reading them.
5…be a shining example of it’s genre.
We are always on the look-out for books that would sit well alongside the greats and that are pronounced in their own right. Any high-quality text will stand out by excelling in one or more attributes of its genre and any illustrations will reflect this quality by expertly supporting or extending the text. Whether it’s an immersive adventure, a perfectly evoked period in time, or a storyline that casts a new light on a familiar one, there is no mistaking a book that shines and stands out from the rest.