At Minchinhampton Academy, all classes use the CLPE’s approach to the teaching of reading and writing through what is called Power of Reading.
Using a range of high quality fiction, non-fiction and poetry, teachers deliver lessons that are designed to immerse the pupils from day one in experiences that will help deepen their understanding of what it is to be a reader and a writer.
Before any word is put to the page, the pupils are given a variety of opportunities to talk, draw and explore the text. This ensures that the are fully engrossed in the text and therefore able to write in role later on in the sequence. There is an element of surprise to each lesson; keeping the pupils and staff on their toes.
From conscience alley, to role on the wall, to drama re-enactments, pupils will then find themselves becoming the character, writing a diary of their experiences within the text. e.g. Writing as Charles who is about to lose his precious Sophie to the state in Rooftoppers.
Writing with a purpose is at the heart of every unit. Whether that be a diary or a graphic novel, pupils have the freedom to choose their mode of expression. In recent years this has also included making film trailers or writing a chapter for our school book.
The Power of Reading approach is immediate and emotive. Every child is begging to write to their own versions of the text after all of the drama, art and musical opportunities. We’ve yet to find a child who hasn’t enjoyed this approach to the teaching of reading and writing.
Power of Reading Exemplar, Rocket Girl – November 2020 Power of Reading, Inspiration Speeches – November 2020
Thank you again to you and your staff for hosting me in your wonderful school on Monday and for all your hospitality while I was with you.
It is evident in the whole school environment, in each classroom and in the children’s books and the way they talk, that you and the staff team have worked incredibly hard to implement the Power of Reading and you have done so with great success.
The reading environment reflects very clearly the value you place on the importance of reading for pleasure and developing lifelong readers with all the benefits this brings. Your school library is central to the school and the way in which this is utilised will ensure your pupils enjoy reading and see themselves as readers regardless of their starting points.
Your pupils are obviously your greatest assets and they spoke with such confidence and passion about the books they had read and the sequences of work that they have enjoyed. To have children speak like this to someone they have never met is testament to your hard work.
It was wonderful to see the evidence of their work in every classroom such as the shared and modelled writing that was on display. The children’s thoughts and ideas were also captured and readily available for them to look back at. Key approaches like role on the wall are embedded, and I loved getting to witness conscience ally in action. Did Sophie jump?!
There is also a clear emphasis on final pieces of writing and publication which give the children real sense of audience and purpose. It was heartening to see year 6 engaged in collaborative gazette writing. The way they had been immersed in the context of the story Goodnight Mr Tom, through music, artefacts, reading aloud and research was shining through in their outcomes and conversations.
It was clear as we walked around the school, that speaking and listening, and developing the children’s spoken language is a high priority. Each class clearly has time to think and discuss ideas before committing to paper. Using mini-whiteboards, group talk, paired work and collaboration to support sustained shared thinking.
Your investment in the school book also reveals that you are committed to developing engaged and enthusiastic writers, as publishing their work for an audience helps children to write more purposefully. It provides a motivating context within which children can bring together their developing understanding of what written language is like; making written language meaningful as they construct their own texts. They will always look back at this process with very happy memories I am sure and it was evident that many of the children already see themselves as writers and have ambitions to pursue this as a career when they are older.
They were also able to talk with passion and confidence about their own personal reading preferences and habits, discussing why they enjoyed or didn’t enjoy certain books and authors.
I have a feeling my team may want to visit again in the future – I hope that would be okay!
Feedback from CLPE visit, we were subsequently invited to become an associate school.