Novel study is firmly embedded within the curriculum at Yarborough and provides children with a wide range of rich and challenging texts. Creativity, innovation and excellence are at the heart of the approach to learning and a sense of awe, wonder and curiosity about books are central to the novel study approach.
Every year group selects a novel that can be interwoven throughout their project. Prior reading of this book is essential to understand how it can be linked to specific areas of the year group’s curriculum. For a novel to be compelling now and memorable later, it works best at a thematic level. That is, it must address a concept that the pupils can relate to. Is the book about a dog that pulls a sled? No; it is about Determination, and Loyalty, and Overcoming Challenges. Those are ideas to which pupils can relate. Is it simply a tale about a pig and a spider? No; it’s a story of Compassion, and Sacrifice, and Identity.
We think carefully about the novel, as this is a crucial decision to drive the project. A novel is worth reading and teaching if it:
- is a classic which continues to be relevant to today’s students;
- is well written and particularly strong in a single area such as characterization, plot, point of view, dialogue, conflict;
- contains a theme which can be integrated into at least one other curriculum area;
- speaks to the students’ interests, concerns, or social issues;
- exemplifies a desired genre or a style of writing;
- is age and ability appropriate (or just slightly over or under the average student’s independent reading level);
- supports the curriculum objectives as well as standards.
Examples of the novels taught in Summer term 2017 (including the project’s essential questions) are:
Nursery – Who lives in the woods? – Goldilocks and the three bears, The Grufflo by Julia Donaldson
FS2 - How can you be an eco superhero? – How to be a superhero by Sue Fliess
Year 1 – What makes a good friend? - On Sudden Hill By Linda Sarah and Benji Davies
Year 2 – What is and could be out there? - Beegu by Alesis Deacon and Man on the moon by Simon Bartram
Year 3 – Extreme weather – are you prepared? - Flood by Alvaro F Villa
Year 4 – How have words wounded wolves? - The true story of Little Red Riding Hood by Agnese Baruzzi and Sandro Natalini
Year 5 – How can we use Wonka’s imagination to help the local Community? - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Year 6 – How can we help prevent the next mass extinction? - The Rabbits by Shaun Tan