They might visit The Times to research producing their own newspaper, crawl over the latest sports car with the editor of Top Gear and write about the experience, watch James Mayhew draw buccaneers inspired by Pirates of the Caribbean or simply curl up in the library with their latest literary discovery. It’s all part of learning to love reading and writing – and nurturing young imaginations and intellects.
There’s time dedicated to reading throughout the school and the library is constantly updated and renewed, so there’s always something new to discover. To encourage our children, we profile authors, recommend wider reading and welcome the Norfolk Children’s Book Centre twice a year for story reading and to introduce them to an even wider variety of authors and genres.
In class, fiction feeds into the topics our pupils study, so Stig of the Dump gives a fresh perspective on the Stone Age, Kensuke’s Kingdom brings new insight into Hokusai paintings and the power of the sea and Carrie’s War offers another angle on the Second World War. There’s thrilling poetry such as The Highwayman and, of course, Shakespeare for older pupils, from the whimsy of A Midsummer Night’s Dream to the bloody moral dilemmas of Macbeth.
Reading widely is a great basis for writing well and our pupils fizz with ideas and debate the best way to open, connect and conclude a sentence, clarifying their thoughts and building an understanding of the structure of the English language as they go. We enter their work in competitions – most recently, the one held to mark Michael Morpurgo’s 70th birthday. They also take part in the national Read For My School competition. Last year, they won 50 books for our library.
Great communicators also need to speak fluently, and our children have lots of opportunities – in class, assemblies, drama lessons and plays, as well as class and school councils. Then there are debates and presentations and (one of their favourites) showing visitors round the school.
English is a skill and a pleasure that never comes to a full stop – unless, of course, it’s at the end of a sentence.