Since you sent me the manuscripts, I have not stopped reading, despite it being the first week of the holidays! The books are so engaging for several reasons: the sheer love of literature seems through the pages and cannot fail to inspire anyone looking to develop their children's love of reading. It made me want to fast-forward to September to try some of the extracts and ideas!
The pitch is high, and unashamedly so. I wholeheartedly agree with the ethos that we should be pitching high, then enabling all pupils to get there with the appropriate level of scaffolding and support. This is laid out very clearly, with accessible suggestions of stretch and support. The texts themselves are complex and challenging, at both 6-9 and 10-13. This will certainly help to drive the mastery curriculum in English, as well as developing other subjects through a thematic approach. So many additional subjects are explored, making explicit the links between learning in literature, and the rest of the curriculum. This will lead to rich and meaningful learning.
These books are far more than a schematic approach to meeting KS KPIs. They build upon a rich cultural capital and literature cannon, with key skills being taught and rehearsed explicitly. However, the writers have skilfully woven in grammar, spelling and writing concepts which will enable pupils to reach skill KPIs as a bi-product rather than a limited outcome. This for me is is the right way around curriculum design. Other outcomes will include growing vocabulary, widening cultural horizons and understanding a wider range of literary and poetic devices.
Finally, the focus on developing learning habits and using cognitive research to embed learning chimes with my ethos and that of my school. We have worked closely with Graham Powell, embedding his work with Claxton on Learning Habits and the approaches tie in perfectly with Opening Doors. The focus on questioning, making links, metacognition and imagination sits very comfortably alongside the approaches in this book and would enhance rather than detract from our whole school approach to learning.
The glossary is a lovely final touch and enhances the CPD of all staff!