The importance of a love of literature

In this modern age of computers, tablets and mobile phones, and after days spent on Teams, a love of literature continues to be embedded in the English Curriculum at Hatherop Castle. It is vital that our children are encouraged to have a broad enjoyment and appreciation of different types of literature.

On a typical day if you walk around the school you will see children reading quietly, individually and in groups. There are scenes from books being acted out, children empathising with characters while hot seating and being asked questions by their peers, and debates about what they have read and the issues they encounter.

These opportunities for creative activities, drama, hot-seating, empathy writing and poetry among others are an integral part of the curriculum. Encouraging children to express their thoughts and views clearly and succinctly, and use the text to put forward their thoughts are all vital skills. Debating and discussion are also important speaking and listening skills to be developed in this modern age, to ensure our children are clear, confident and articulate speakers.

We have all found that during lockdown we have had more time to spend at home and it has been encouraging to see many children using this time to read for pleasure. There have been plenty of discussions over Teams about books that have been read and recommendations for peers. Activities have ranged from Reception acting out “We are Going on a Bear Hunt”, to Prep 6 videoing themselves reading their favourite books, such as “The Just So Stories” and “Mr Grumpy”, and sharing these videos with younger children. All these reinforce the key role literature still plays in our daily lives.

Celebrating World Book Day has been done virtually this year, but plenty of activities have taken place over Teams, among them Prep 3 to 6 have been having a 2-week readathon – it has been wonderful to see all the children recording the time they have read and also the variety of texts and style of writing they have read – from classic novels, contemporary fiction, newspapers and of course audio books. There has also been plenty of independent reading, reading to siblings, shared reading with parents and family and of course just sitting back, listening and enjoying having someone read you a story. There is no better way to celebrate World Book Day and a love of books!