This year, we have introduced a new English Curriculum at the Prep School. It is based around ‘The Power of Reading’, which is produced by leading charity and Literacy experts at the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE).The Power of Reading is CLPE’s evidence based resource and training programme, which uses quality children’s literature and creative teaching approaches to support teachers to develop a high quality literacy curriculum and foster a whole school love of reading and writing.

Literacy is at the heart of the curriculum

The Power of Reading helps to develop empathy for characters in stories, and build up pupils’ inference, deduction and comprehension skills. It also involves children regularly writing in different genres and creates a more cohesive learning experience. Literacy is at the heart of the curriculum and the texts facilitate a range of exciting cross curricular work. Pupils work closely with one book or novel for a period of weeks, usually half a term, which enables them to engage significantly with the text. This means we can dig deeply into characters, narrative and setting, and develop a detailed understanding of authorial choice.

‘Mirrors and Windows’

The texts that we use are chosen to be what the CLPE refers to as ‘mirrors and windows’. A window is something that you can see the world through, so the texts we put in front of pupils should be texts through which children are able to see their world. By this, we mean the cultural, historical, and social context in which they live. As well as this, stories should have the ability to be mirrors in which our young people can see themselves reflected back. It is an enormously empowering experience, as a reader, to see a protagonist who shares a similar background. For our pupils at Brighton Girls, that means we need to consciously select stories which have strong female role models and reflect back the diversity and inclusivity that we strive for and enjoy every day.

The Power of Reading employs a range of teaching approaches which are used across the school, from Reception to Year 6, including developing the classroom literacy environment, reading journals, role play and drama to enhance teaching and learning. Examples of these can be found here:

Sharing ways parents can reinforce learning at home

Mrs Blacker and Miss Telford held a curriculum evening for Years 3 and 4 to share our new approach and English curriculum with parents. We will put the slides on Firefly for those who weren’t able to make it. By introducing year group based curriculum evenings, we hope to be able to engage with parents on teaching and learning and share ways that parents can help reinforce learning at home. Please do keep an eye out for these dates in the future and pop them in your diaries – we would love to see more of you at these events

Pictured: Surprise guest Guinea Pigs as Year 1 and 2 read Olga Da Polga.

Laura Comerford

Head of Prep

Brighton Girls Prep