Quality Text Rationale

All texts chosen strongly support and complement the Churchfields Junior School values that we have in place.

Year 3

Click / hover book covers for rationale

In Year 3 the children start with The Hodgeheg by Dick King Smith. We have chosen this as this links in with many of the school values including: determination, resilience, appreciation. Children are immediately engaged due to animals being the main characters within the book. Furthermore we have found that many children are highly motivated to go out and read other Dick King Smith books. He is a fantastic author for Year 3s to enjoy and develop their reading skills.

The Hodgeheg

Dick King Smith

The Year 3s move on to Roald Dahl in both story and play form. The play allows for a whole range of acting and drama opportunities whilst the story promotes one of the key authors we want children to read before they leave school. One of our lines on the innovative Reading Express (please see later in the rationale) is indeed the Dahl line, so straight away the children have a plethora of high quality texts to move onto when they have finished George’s Marvellous Medicine and James and The Giant Peach.

George’s Marvellous Medicine

Roald Dahl

The Year 3s move on to Roald Dahl in both story and play form. The play allows for a whole range of acting and drama opportunities whilst the story promotes one of the key authors we want children to read before they leave school. One of our lines on the innovative Reading Express (please see later in the rationale) is indeed the Dahl line, so straight away the children have a plethora of high quality texts to move onto when they have finished George’s Marvellous Medicine and James and The Giant Peach.

James and The Giant Peach

Roald Dahl

We also study the Velveteen Rabbit as this picture book contains many powerful themes  about love, isolation, how to overcome difficulties and allows children to develop the key skill of empathy within their reading.

Velveteen Rabbit

Margery Williams

We move onto the Iron Man. This has been chosen as it is a more complex book than Dahl and Dick King Smith and is more serious and in many respects more masculine in its written style. It is important for children to analyse and compare different written styles and Ted Hughes is another high quality author that we believe children need to be aware of before they leave Primary School.

The Iron Man

Ted Hughes

The Giant’s Necklace by Michael Morpurgo has been chosen as Morpurgo is a fantastic author for children to enjoy and become engaged with. This short story explores themes of loss, bravery and curiosity and the impact these can have upon a young girl. We felt it was important to have a strong and inspirational female main character and for children to learn that females can be empowered and deserve equal opportunities based on their own merits. 

The Giant’s Necklace

Michael Morpurgo

Fox is written by Margaret Wild and shows appreciation for female authors in an otherwise heavily male populated year group of authors. The book due to the beautiful illustrations and complex themes around jealousy and envy as well as a deep friendship provoke different thought processes from previous books. 

The Hodgeheg

Dick King Smith

 The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe is an important introduction to fantasy and engages all children. It is a challenge and a more complex book again compared to every other book studied in Year 3. By this time we feel the children are ready to be even more challenged and introduced to the fantasy genre, as many writers that we would like children to read are within this genre.

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

C.S. Lewis

Year 4

Click / hover book covers for rationale

To promote a love of non-fiction books as well, the children learn about the Yanomami tribe through the Vanishing Rainforest. This book not only ties in with the topic of the rainforest but describes through the imagery and text the devastating effects of deforestation which is so important in the modern world. It represents what life is like in a different culture and allows children an in-depth look at life for people not reliant on technology. It is a good book to engage children straight after the summer holiday. Furthermore the link with the geography topic reduces the children’s working memory and enables a greater focus on the inferential and evaluative aspect of reading.

The Vanishing Rainforest

Richard Platt

We move onto Journey to the River Sea as Eva Ibbotson is a brilliant female author and it links in with the topics that they cover. It represents an adventure story so builds on the books that were covered in Year 3. It explores more complex themes about being an orphan and feeling an outcast wherever she is. This allows children to really explore the adventure genre and use the Reading Line on adventure to read a range of these books.

Journey to the River Sea

Eva Ibbotson

While learning about Ancient Rome, pupils read The Secrets of Vesuvius. It engages the children with the genre of historical fiction which the children who prefer Non-Fiction really seem to engage with.

The Secrets of Vesuvius

Caroline Lawrence

The Raven is a high quality poem that allows children to engage with a world renowned poet such as Edgar Allen Poe. The imagery and gothic themes that this poem explores and conjures is something very different to what the children have studied before and gives them a route both into poetry and also the horror and gothic genre.

The Raven

Edgar Allen Poe

The Wolves of Currumpaw by William Grill explores life from the point of view of a wolf pack in the Americas looking at life in a different culture at a different point in history. It is a non-fiction book which explores themes all around pride, collaboration, ambition and regret with powerful pictures to support the high quality text. We feel it is important for children to be introduced to different cultures as well as being given the chance to engage with high quality non-fiction texts outside of our topic and science lessons. Furthermore it encourages discussion about the environment and how man and nature can be in conflict yet need to find a way to survive and flourish together.

The Wolves of Currumpaw

William Grill

The penultimate book is Tudor Rose which has been chosen as we don’t study the Tudors at all in our chronology of history and we felt it was important for the children to have a basic understanding and grasp of this important period in British history as well as looking at historical language from that period. Furthermore Shakespeare follows this book so it is a perfect introduction to the period and times around when Shakespeare was writing and the social and political issues as that were in play at the time.

Tudor Rose

Anne Perry

Finally, we thought it very important for children to become engaged with and develop a love of Shakespeare early on as in our view a love of Shakespeare is a love of language which is an incredibly important facet of our English curriculum. That is why they study Midsummer’s Night Dream as it is a light hearted comedy as opposed to a heavy tragedy. The children study the story form of Shakespeare at this age as well as extracts from the play. The children also go on a trip to the Globe theatre which really inspires them to read more Shakespeare plays which are all present in the school library in story form.

A Midsummer’s Night Dream

A Shakespeare Story

Year 5

Click / hover book covers for rationale

Year 5 build on the literature read in Year 4 by returning to Eva Ibbotson with her book One Boy and His Dog. Themes of loyalty, fairness and justice are prevalent throughout and we feel it is important for the Year 5 children to learn these at the start of the Year 5. It also explores the themes around families and how to overcome difficulties. It is a great book to start Year 5 with as it engages them straight away due to their previous enjoyment and knowledge of Eva Ibbotson and her writing.

One Boy and His Dog

Eva Ibbotson

Beowulf, which is a key text in English Literature, and Anglo Saxon Boy delve into the historical period in a lot more detail; these link to the topic that the children are studying providing them with a rich background of knowledge needed to excel in both reading and writing. It further helps bring the topic to life and children are engaged with these books. Furthermore, Beowulf allows children to revisit Morpurgo in a more challenging book than the short story of The Giant’s Necklace which they study in Year 3.

Beowulf

Michael Morpurgo

Beowulf, which is a key text in English Literature, and Anglo Saxon Boy delve into the historical period in a lot more detail; these link to the topic that the children are studying providing them with a rich background of knowledge needed to excel in both reading and writing. It further helps bring the topic to life and children are engaged with these books. Furthermore, Beowulf allows children to revisit Morpurgo in a more challenging book than the short story of The Giant’s Necklace which they study in Year 3.

Anglo Saxon Boy

Tony Bradman

The Christmas Carol challenges children and allows them a taste of another classic author in Dickens. We have a Dickens line on our Reading Express and want the children to have the opportunity to read the children’s penguin editions of this important author in British history. These books also allow the children to learn about the Victorian period- another hugely important period in the development of the British state, democracy and British values that are now ingrained within our society.

The Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens

Skellig is the next book that is chosen due to the real life issues that are discussed within the book. It highlights problems that people can have in daily life and shows the variations in language across the country. It explores the ideas of a regular person being a hero and the importance of family and relationships with children. This idea of exploring ‘real life issues’ is a very important theme for children to understand and empathise with and builds on the themes previously covered throughout the other years and the beginning of Year 5.

Skellig

David Almond

The Highwayman is an important poem set in a different era of history that we want children to understand. The idea of a narrative being explored through figurative language and a narrative within poetry builds the children’s awareness that poetry doesn’t have to all rhyme and be short. Moreover, both this book and the above explore symbolism and the impact this can have on the reader.

The Highway Man

Alfred Noyes

Holes has been chosen as Louis Sachar is a very influential children’s author who we want children to have the opportunity to read. It builds further on the previous themes of family, loneliness, being resolute, determination, friendship and the importance of having a goal in life. It shows life in a different culture to Britain, being set in America which is important for children to get a sense of the similarities and differences between their own life and that of others their age throughout different parts of the world.

Holes

Louis Sachar

The London Eye Mystery links in with the topic of London and allows children a chance to explore the detective and mystery line on the reading Express. It is a lot bigger book in terms of quantity which allows the teachers to focus on improving the children’s reading stamina and speed.

The London Eye Mystery

Siobhan Dowd

The Arrival through beautiful illustrations allows children to understand what life as an immigrant and a refugee is like and is extremely current and relevant to today’s society with the crisis happening in Syria and Libya.

The Arrival

Shaun Tan

In Varjak Paw, the ideas behind remembering the past and respecting the elders is an important theme for the children to understand and is a high quality text that builds on the children’s previous learning through the themes of family strife and betrayal.

Varjak Paw

S. F. Said

Percy Jackson is a contemporary book in a series of very well written books that we would like the children to read. Due to the length of the book it promotes independence and again helps build their reading stamina which is vital. Furthermore because it is written in first person it provides children with a different way of how books can be written and supports their own story writing in first person.

Percy Jackson

Rick Riordan

Year 6

Click / hover book covers for rationale

Year 6 start the year by reading a classic novel set around the topic of WW2 which is the Silver Sword. This book builds on all the previous year’s learning and highlights the plight that people faced in WW2 from across Europe. With the main characters being children and being led by a strong, fearless young lady, it really highlights the characteristics we want our young children and in particular girls to aspire to. We want them to recognise themselves as being determined, brave, show resilience, caring and taking a key role in modern society. The book really engages the children as they can relate to the characters if not the situation and builds their skills of empathy and understanding of a hugely important yet dreadful experience in Modern European history.

The Silver Sword

Ian Serraillier

Rose Blanche is a beautifully illustrated picture book that shows the sheer horror of life in Nazi Germany for Jewish people as well as what life was like for ordinary Germans. By Year 6 we feel children are old enough to understand these themes and have an understanding of what was happening and how these go against the fundamental British values of freedom and tolerance that we in this country.

Rose Blanche

Ian McEwan

Goodnight Mister Tom is an incredibly powerful and emotive book that again allows the children to develop their skills of empathy and appreciation for the life they have as they can really relate to the main character and what he has been through due to the war. It introduces a wider range of vocabulary and really encourages the children to think more deeply and build on their inference skills throughout the novel. Due to their background understanding of the time period it really allows them to appreciate the complexities and subtleties of the book.  Furthermore, by having these two books consecutively allows for even greater opportunities of ‘depth’ within the children’s knowledge.

Goodnight Mister Tom

Michelle Magorian

Coraline has been chosen as Neil Gaiman is another author we want children to have the opportunity to read and enjoy and his style of writing horror/ adventure books are different to any other genre that children have previously read. Again we felt it was important to have a strong female character as the focal point and many children by this age can relate to the feeling of isolation within their own home so we feel it is an important theme for children to discuss for their own well-being and Mental Health.

Coraline

Neil Gaiman

The Rabbits like the The Arrival in Year 5 shows the impact that colonialism can have on a native population and allows children an understanding of what life was like for many indigenous people’s across the world. Again this is under ever more scrutiny in the press and it provides children with the basis to understand events that are happening on the news such as the banning of tourists climbing Uluru in Australia.

The Rabbits

John Marsden

Shackleton’s Journey allows the children another chance to study an incredibly high quality non-fiction text. The factual, formal writing style as well as incredibly provocative and thought- provoking illustrations really engage the children and often produce the best examples of writing and indeed improve their reading skills dramatically. By giving every child a character on the ship it brings this book to life and engages children. Furthermore we have arranged an author visit from William Grill which will further inspire the children to explore non-fiction books and improve their own general knowledge. It also gives the children a further understanding of the period after the Victorians and at the start of WW1 about what life was like in Britain and why ‘The age of explorers’ was an important period within British history.

Shackleton’s Journey

William Grill

Tales of Outer Suburbia represent a number of short stories that really help children infer, predict and make connections and justify their own opinions which tie back to the milestones that we want children to reach in reading by the end of Year 6. This idea of being able to justify their own opinions about what they think is happening in the stories and creating backstories is a key skill in helping children develops their own imagination and creativity- key facets of the Year 6 curriculum.

Tales from Outer Suburbia

Shaun Tan

Oliver Twist builds on the work done in the Christmas Carol and really gives children a more in-depth sense of what life was like as an orphan in Victorian Britain. The language used within the book really helps the children develop and expand their vocabulary.

Oliver Twist

Charles Dickens

Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan is a poem from a different culture which allows the children a glimpse of how this culture is different yet similar to their own and allows children within the class a chance to share their own experiences and similarities to the author of this poem of growing up in Britain but having family originally from a different country.

Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan

Moniza Alvi

Finally we revisit Shakespeare in Year 6 and now look at the original play format with a modern English translation at the side. This builds on their initial knowledge from Year 4 but develops in a lot more detail. By introducing them to Macbeth we also see a different genre of Shakespeare to the light-heartedness of A Midsummer’s Night Dream. By the end of Year 6 they are able to appreciate the complex themes and to understand the idea of ambition and in particular Lady Macbeth’s character in a lot more detail.

Macbeth

William Shakespeare