At SJB we believe that creating a culture of reading is a vital tool in ensuring our children are given the best life chances. Cultivating passion in our readers will ensure that their love of reading will extend far beyond the classroom and allow them to build on their skills independently through a real curiosity and thirst for knowledge.
Research has found that reading for pleasure can result in increased empathy: improved relationships with others: reductions in the symptoms of depression and dementia, and improved wellbeing. In addition to the health benefits, reading for pleasure has social benefits and can improve our sense of connectedness to the wider community. By increasing our understanding of our own identity, reading improves empathy and gives us an insight into the world view of others.
We believe it is essential that reading, directed and freely chosen, is an everyday part of our children’s lives. Many exciting and rewarding activities are arranged in school to promote the pleasure and knowledge that can be gained from books.
At SJB, we know that writing is communication, hence the need to produce well-structured, detailed writing in which the meaning is made clear and which engages the interest of the reader, and the need for the purpose and audience of the writing to largely dictate its form. But equally writing is art, ‘a means of creative expression, a record of human experience’ (Newbolt Report 1921), and so our writing experiences at school should creatively satisfy the writer as well as reaching the reader.
As choice encourages creativity, we aim to immerse children in a wide range of rich literature (including audio and film as well as written text), enabling them to use books of their/our choices to inform their own writing, rather than hanging it on a single text. We encourage them to collect plot ideas, characters, favourite lines and settings to inform their own work. Our writing curriculum shows children that through literature we can take and find connections from our own lives - either real or imagined.
Writing is a social act, so we model how to do it as a class with the ultimate aim that children begin to do it on their own - with their own texts.