Cultural Capital

What is cultural capital?

“Cultural Capital can be defined as the skills and knowledge which an individual can draw on to give them an advantage in social life.

Cultural Capital – having the skills, knowledge, norms and values which can be used to get ahead in education and life more generally.” –

Reading Spine

A Short Summary of: The 5 Plagues of the Developing Reader 

Plague 1: Archaic Text

Authors wrote differently 50, 100 and 200 years ago.  They used different words and arranged them differently to how we do today.  Over time, certain words are used less, but as children go on to study at secondary and then onto higher education, they will encounter ‘old-fashioned’ language.  Exposure to archaic texts at a young age will ensure they have a good foundational understanding of the English language as it used to be.


Plague 2: Nonlinear Time Sequence

Books which have a nonlinear time sequence are complex because it can be difficult to place exactly when something happened, or they may have a storyline that jumps around in time.  Sometimes characters recall memories that happened in the past and it can be difficult to follow the story when this happens often.  


Plague 3: Complexity of Narrator

These books can have more than one narrator.  For example, the book Wonder is split into parts that are written from each of the main characters’ perspectives.  Some books have different types of narrators (first person, unreliable or omniscient).  It is important that children have an understanding of the different types of narrators they will encounter, as it contributes significantly to their understanding of the text as a whole. 


Plague 4: Complexity of Story (Plot and Symbolism)

This includes books with complex or multiple plot lines or that have a deeper symbolic meaning.  


Plague 5: Resistant Texts

These types of books/texts are to put it simply, just not very straightforward.  They are difficult to understand and require unpicking in some way.  Often poetry falls under this category or books that seem ‘out there’ or don’t meet the ‘expectation of logic’.


‘The Five Plagues of the Developing Reader’ can be credited to Doug Lemov in Reading Reconsidered, 2016.  


Downlands Reading Spine – Sheet1

Music Spine

Music is a universal language. It has grown and developed as an integral element of every human culture on Earth. As cultures have encountered each other, the different “accents” in this language have interacted, adapted, sometimes given birth to a brand-new “accent” (for example gospel music on the sugar plantations). Music has always survived and flourished, whether these encounters have been generous and socially fruitful (eg courtly Lays carried throughout mediaeval Europe by the troubadours), or born out of conflict or hardship (eg Irish immigrants into the USA during the potato famine).

Music is a subliminal as well as a cerebral language. You don’t have to know the grammar to understand and enjoy it (or dislike it, for that matter). It speaks of universal experiences, interpreted by, for and within every culture. It is both individual and communal.

Sadly, for many of this generation, this universal language has become much quieter in recent years, drowned out by the noise of modern, quasi-competitive Apps on devices and by the cacophony of modern media and lifestyles. At best, it survives as an adjunct in the background. In order to redress this imbalance, I will include suggestions and prompts for families / children at home / children in school; these will aim to provoke thought and comment, and thus hopefully raise the profile of music in the lives of our children and in their families. 


Downlands Community School