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Poplars Community Primary School

Courage, Honesty, Aspiration, Kindness, Collaboration

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Reading Spine

Our reading spine is a collection of recommended books which are considered to be ‘must-reads’ for everyone. The books in this collection consist of picture books, novels, non-fiction texts and poetry intended for class shared texts. Each book has been carefully chosen to stretch vocabulary, expose children to different structures and timeframes, encourage critical and analytical thinking and promote a love of reading. Following this reading spine provides equality of opportunity for all children; ensuring all Poplars pupils will leave school having had exposure to wide ranging, linguistically varied and intellectually stimulating collection of texts.


These texts are based on research by Doug Lemov about ‘The Five Plagues of the Developing Reader’, which are the stumbling blocks children can face if they are not exposed to a rich variety of texts.


The texts in our spine fall into these 5 categories:


1. Archaic Language – books which were (usually) written in the past and use vocabulary or sentence structures which we are unlikely to be exposed to in our everyday spoken language. Children need strategies to decode unfamiliar words and to build up their own bank of known archaic language.


2. Non-Linear Time Sequences – books which are not written chronologically. They may include flashbacks, time travel, multiple plots happening at different times or the start of the book being the end result. These books enable children to restructure the events chronologically in their mind as they read.


3. Narratively Complex – these texts are often told by a narrator who isn’t aware of everything which happens in a story or may have more than one narrator. These texts may also have plots which seem separate but then intertwine to pull the different plotlines together.


4. Figurative/Symbolic Text – books which use allegories, metaphors and symbols to represent an idea.


5. Resistant Texts – books, and often poems, which deliberately try and create confusion. These texts should be viewed as a challenge or a brainteaser to try and work out the meaning.


In addition to these 5 plagues of the developing reader, we have also included a further category to reflect our diverse community: Diversity – books which celebrate authors and protagonists that reflect our community and promote ethnic diversity.