Placing a Literature-led Approach at the Core of English Teaching
The English national curriculum (2014) states that:
‘The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written language, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.’
- We believe the exposure of children’s literature within the primary school setting is vital as a rich context for learning; not only within English as a subject but to support building a reading culture throughout the school.
- We aim to use high quality books that offer opportunities for empathy and can aid philosophical enquiry, where children see their cultures, families and relationships reflected, as a means of developing the spoken language requirements through debate, drama and discussion using the issues raised through, and within, the text.
By placing books at the core, we are allowing teachers to use the text as the context for the requirements of the national curriculum. The national curriculum states that:
‘‘This guidance is not intended to constrain or restrict teachers’ creativity, simply to provide the structure on which they can construct exciting lessons.’
This would suggest that a context for learning is vital – and this is where our chosen approach can support teachers with ensuring that objectives for reading and writing, including those for grammar can have purpose.
We will always aim for our writing opportunities to be meaningful and to feel authentic. Whether these are short or long and that the audience is clear. Books offer this opportunity: our aim would be that that children have real reasons to write, whether to explain, persuade, inform or instruct and that where possible, this can be embedded within text or linked to a curriculum area. Writing in role using a range of genres is key to our approach and we would always model the tone and level of formality. This sits comfortably alongside the following statement from the English national curriculum:
‘The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.’
Through use of The Literary Curriculum we have mapped the coverage of the entire English Programme of Study for KS1 and KS2 for Writing and Reading Comprehension, as well as meeting the needs of the statutory 2021 Early Years Framework. In many cases objectives are covered more than once and children have opportunities to apply these several times over the course of a year, as well as to consolidate prior knowledge from previous years. This approach supports children to think deeply and develop skills with depth.