Curriculum Statement – Reading
“Once you learn to read you will be free forever.” – Frederick Douglass
Powerful Knowledge in Reading
Our aim is for students to leave the Laurus Trust having had a rich and positive experience of reading multiple, diverse, challenging and beautifully crafted works of art. An experience so fertile, that they want to go on reading novels both the ‘classics’ but also new works, works that challenge the established canon and provoke new ways of thinking about the world and where we stand in it. We want our students to discover the transformative power of books, the power of escapism and the pleasures that reading affords.
Our curriculum aims to provide our students with reading opportunities that ignite their imagination, allow books to question their intellect, what they know and think about themselves and the world in which they live. We want our students to feel the transformative power of books, as their reading introduces them to new ideas, geographical settings, religions, and historical time frames.
And although we want students to experience the personal connection between reader, author and story, we also want students to see how reading can include them in great conversations not only with the author and the characters but also with all those who have read the text too.
We also aim to provide a curriculum that allows pupils to explore and engage with the conversations that exist between books, the intertextual links, the idea that in reading one book, you are preparing yourself for the reading of the next as those timeless and universal themes and ideas resurface in their different forms and guises.
Finally, we want our curriculum to prepare our students for the complexities of the texts they will encounter, both fiction and non-fiction as they progress through school, higher education and the world beyond. We aim to teach our students how to navigate the more subtle conventions of different genres so that they are able to unlock these academic codes independently and thus access the rich world that sits within these texts.
Reading is the bedrock of our curriculum at the Laurus Trust.
As part of their experience of Reading across the curriculum, students will be guided to develop and practise a set of core reading to learn strategies fundamental to academic success. These strategies include;
- Prediction and anticipation
They will be taught to read with clear intention and goals and encouraged to activate prior knowledge as part of their approach to the reading of new material as we ascribe to the idea that, “in reading, the more you know, the more you learn.” (Lemov, 2016).
Each discipline area prioritises reading and therefore meaningful and varied opportunities for reading are built into the curriculum sequence across all key stages.
Increasingly, subject areas aim to explore what it means to read through the lens of their specific discipline as we ask questions such as; ‘What does it mean to read like a scientist and how is this different to reading like a historian?’
Reading is also a core part of our wider curriculum, with all pupils at KS3 having timetabled library lessons and identified opportunities for pupils at KS4 and KS5 to engage with the library as a space for both academic study and personal reading pleasure and enjoyment. The library curriculum aims to introduce pupils into the world of books, libraries and reading for pleasure and are the heart of reading in each of the Trust schools.
In addition to fiction, we aim to ensure our students are exposed to a range of powerful non-fiction texts that explore important social and cultural discourses that have evolved overtime. Through this, our students will learn to appreciate the power of the writer to manipulate their audience and how they position audience’s responses intentionally, to help them achieve purpose. Our reading curriculum aims to ensure our students are critical readers – readers who can recognise how the context of production has impacted a writer and readers who are given strategies that empower them to interrogate, ‘truths’ presented to them in texts.
At all stages of their education at the Laurus Trust, students are encouraged and have opportunity to engage in a rich and broad range of reading experiences. From author visits, book clubs and literature circles to discipline specific, academic reading electives, and ongoing inter and intra school competitions; students at the Laurus Trust are given a rich diet of opportunities all aimed at broadening their reading horizons and engaging them with the power of the written word.