A recent survey, published by the Literacy Trust, shows that in 2019, only 26% of under-18s spent some time each day reading. In this modern day of computers, tablets and mobile phones, a love of literature is essential and we ensure it is embedded in the English Curriculum at Hatherop castle.
We encourage our children to read daily. As you walk around the school you will see children reading quietly, individually and in groups. In one classroom, there are scenes from books being acted out and children empathising with characters while hot seating. A little further down the corridor, children are being asked questions by their peers, and having debates about what they have read and the issues they encounter. Indeed, one of the children’s most favourite activities, is joining with children from other year groups and sharing a book, being read to or reading to a younger child.
A variety of books from different genre are studied throughout the years, starting with Flotsam and Jetsam in Prep 2, the story of two characters living on the beach, created from beach debris. Links to the creative curriculum are evident, and creative writing is plentiful.
Reading in the Prep School
In contrast. Prep 5 focus on the author Michael Morpurgo, comparing two different texts in terms of content and style. They will also be given the opportunity to visit the local Barn Theatre to see his work performed on stage. Year Six evacuees spent a day at Winchcombe Station and returned to school to study “Letters from the Lighthouse”, clearly able to empathise with the life of an evacuee and the hardship encountered. The study of set texts continues, until Prep 8, where children are introduced to more complex texts, such as “The Woman in Black”, concluding with a theatre visit to Oxford later this term.
Alongside this, we encourage all children to read independently. It is always encouraging to see children coming into daily English lessons, updating their teacher on how much they have read, and how the plot of a story is progressing, talking about characters, their enjoyment and enthusiasm clearly evident. All this is clear evidence that children at Hatherop Castle are bucking the trend that says many children are reading less, and are unable to find things to read that interest them.