The ideal scene for reading at school would be to have, at the end of Key Stage Three, all children
• reading voluminously in a wide range of fields, on their own determinism
• continually winning and participating
• over time, mastering books of a certain vocabulary level and kind in preparation for more advanced studies.
This would mean that children would complete the programme enjoying reading, wanting to read more and wanting to broaden their range of reading, having become acquainted with chosen classics of English literature.
Consequently, the H.E.A.R.T. programme was developed to:
• encourage improvement initially in the amount of material read, not, at first, the standard of material
• blend a detailed concern for individual child progress with a continuous emphasis on group activity
• enable ongoing child participation without imposing an ‘other-determined’ regime of reading material
• cultivate success at reading which then self-motivates the child to expand his or her reach into the world of literature.
In effect, what parents and teachers -and in fact, children themselves- want is happy and competent readers of English literature.
This product is obtained in three stages: happiness first, then competence, then a select reading of carefully chosen works of literature.
Step by step, this opens the door to further development of reading as a quality activity in Key Stage Four (ages 15 to 16) when most children are becoming focused on career requirements, examinations and specialist interests.
By taking this approach, any parent, tutor, homeschooler or school using the programme can produce graduates who have reached culturally adequate levels in terms of reading, firstly by boosting volume, then by guiding quality.
A Key Stage Three child (aged 11 to 14) where the bulk of H.E.A.R.T. is aimed, should move forward winning with reading generally and possessed of a wide range of literary and cultural fundamentals. But anyone undertaking the programme should keep in mind that, while results will be visible almost immediately, longer term gain is to be plotted over a period of about three years.
How does the programme accomplish all these things?
It progresses in distinct stages over the three year period, with each year adopting different approaches.