Reading & Stories
Stories To Listen To
More About Reading Throughout Our School
At Prince of Wales there are children from 57 countries and over 50 languages are spoken. It is vital that each and every child feels valued and has a sense of identity. Knowledge of the children and their background is something every member of staff is aware of and this shapes the whole school curriculum. Every unit of work in every subject is carefully crafted to make the learning relevant and opportunities are provided to make every child feel included. As a result we have a creative curriculum which embraces learning and poses questions about the world with the aim of making our children successful learners, confident individuals and responsible global citizens. We have a significant number of African and Caribbean children and fortunately the quality Black literature available continues to expand. However, our largest community is our Turkish/Kurdish community and whilst we have reflected this culture in our curriculum finding well written children’s literature is more of a challenge although we have books about the Hodja and other popular stories. Orhan Pamuk said, ‘I read a book one day and my whole life was changed.’ The power of reading should never be underestimated but needs to resonate with all of the children to hold that power.
Reading is key to all the learning at our school and there is strong focus on learning to read from the moment the children start school. Whilst we follow the RWI approach to accelerate the skill of reading this is supplemented every day by reading high quality texts to motivate and engage the children. These books reflect the cultures of the children and fortunately there is an ever increasing range of good quality fiction and non-fiction available for primary aged children. We subscribe to the Power of Reading which has an excellent library, good training and resources available to teachers. The categories of their booklists include Refugee and Migrant, Windrush, Black History, Human Rights, Mary Hoffman, John Agard and Grace Nicholls. We use books from the Power of Reading library and books that are studied this year, and serve as a writing focus, include Handa’s Surprise, Anna Hibiscus, Gregory Cool, Fly Eagle Fly, Coming to England, The Village that Vanished, Walter Tull, Katherine Johnson, the Diver’s Daughter, Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters, The Vanishing Rainforest, The Great Kapok Tree and a range of Caribbean poetry.
We have various initiatives throughout the year when we engage families with reading opportunities: Reading Breakfasts when parents share books with their children; Book days when parents are invited in to tell or read stories from their culture; and stories read by members of staff in a range of languages. In addition, every assembly has a story book to illustrate the value of the month. Every subject area, including P4C, also include good quality literature as part of the unit of work. Children have access to two well stocked libraries and time is set aside every day for individual reading. Daily Guided Reading sessions are a feature every day when excerpts of books are chosen often with the hope that the children will want to read the whole book or a book by the same author. The class teacher also reads the class novel to the children every day including the Boy at the Back of the Class, Kunkush-the story of a Refugee Cat, and other stories set in a range of settings exploring a range of issues including family life, refugees and migration.
Every year we choose a fairy story as a whole school focus and research the different versions of the story. We have explored over twenty versions of Cinderella and Red Riding Hood and are presently enjoying versions of Beauty and the Beast. Already children have contributed versions from Morocco and Ghana in addition to the versions provided by the school. This Fairy Tale focus involves art work, drama and writing and culminates in a Parent Café to which families are invited to share the enjoyment and explore the potential of stories.
JK Rowling once said,’ If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.’ It is our responsibility, as teachers, to find these books for our children.