The Reading Spine is a core of books that create a living library inside a child's minds: a store of classics and essential reads that help children engage at a deeper level and enter the world of the story, fostering a love of reading.
More information about what books each year is reading can be found on the children's class pages.
Currently our Reading Spine runs from Year 3 - Year 6. Books are carefully selected by the teachers to ensure children are exposed to a wide range of literature which include specific features (based on The 5 Plagues of Reading) listed below and raising cultural awareness.
The vocabulary, usage, syntax and context for cultural reference of texts over 50 or 100 years old are vastly different and typically more complex than texts written today. Students need to be exposed to and develop proficiency with antiquated forms of expression to be able to hope to read James Madison, Frederick Douglass and Edmund Spenser when they get to college.
Non-Linear Time Sequences
In passages written exclusively for students—or more specifically for student assessments— time tends to unfold with consistency. A story is narrated in a given style with a given cadence and that cadence endures and remains consistent, but in the best books, books where every aspect of the narration is nuanced to create an exact image, time moves in fits and start. It doubles back. The only way to master such books is to have read them time and again and to be carefully introduced to them by a thoughtful teacher or parent.
Books are sometimes narrated by an unreliable narrator- Scout, for example, who doesn’t understand and misperceives some of what happened to her. Or the narrator in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” who is a madman out of touch with reality. Other books have multiple narrators such as Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying. Others have non-human narrators such as the horse that tells the story in Black Beauty. Some books have multiple intertwined and apparently (for a time) unrelated plot lines. These are far harder to read than books with a single plot line and students need to experience these as well.
Texts which happen on an allegorical or symbolic level. Not reflected in Lexiles; critical forms of text complexity that students must experience.
Texts written to deliberately resist easy meaning-making by readers. Perhaps half of the poems ever written fall into this category. You have to assemble meaning around nuances, hints, uncertainties and clues.