Updated: Jul 13, 2020
Last year, we asked teachers, authors and researchers to help us create a KS1 and KS2 reading spine based on Doug Lemov's 'Reading Reconsidered' and it proved hugely successful. Thousands of downloads and heated discussions were had and the idea that children should engage in the '5 plagues' of reading from an early age resonated with myself and many others. These 'plagues' need to be made explicit to children as they move from foundation to year 6. The previous experience children will have of them will only help them take on the next challenge, and challenges they will face in secondary education, if we are explicit all the way.
What else can be made clear and explicit to the children when discussing stories? I for one, find by KS2 the 'story mountain' becomes a little laborious and too often an over-simplistic way to address story telling. However, as a base to start, it suits. 'Talk 4 Writing' uses a masterful approach in telling all sorts of different stories which range from quests and journey, warning stories and rescues to character flaws and transformations. See here for more info. This is based on the Christopher Booker text, 'The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories' which was published in 2004.
Here are his 7 story types:
1.) Overcoming the enemy
2.) Rags to Riches
3.) The Quest
4.) Voyage and Return
Each one of these types have various adaptions and subheadings with finer details but children could learn these as early as foundation and KS1 so that they recognise the patterns and overarching themes in all stories which they will have access to over the course of their primary life. It is well worth reading the blog post by Solomon Kingsnorth on this, along with his new approach to reading comprehension.
These are now available as posters which you can download FREE at the bottom of the page. The resource includes some book examples as well as further explanations for each story type.
The idea is that these are made explicit to children from an early age and, as they reach KS2, are used in conjunction with a 'Book Knowledge Organiser' to help make things more explicit to children. The idea would be that children are aware of the story type and are aware of previous stories that have been read to them of similar story types (and plagues of reading) so that they are able to make stronger links, connections and comparisons between books, themes, plots and characters.
Here is our Wonder Knowledge Organiser which we have uploaded to our site. It identifies the story type along with more information. We'll be adding loads more for a range of books over the coming weeks.
We hope you like the resource. Download it here: