Reading at Cleaswell Hill School
Children become readers from the moment they learn to love books and stories from an early age. At Cleaswell Hill, we promote a love of reading and actively encourage this across school on a daily basis. Reading is shared or independent depending on the ages and need of the pupil.
The aims of our reading curriculum are broad and reflective of the wide range of needs shown by pupils across all pathways in school.
We aim to:
- Encourage children to become enthusiastic and reflective readers with an interest in books and to read with enjoyment;
- Help pupils become confident, independent readers, where appropriate, through a focus on phonics, word, sentence and text-level knowledge at a suitable level;
- Develop positive, enthusiastic and reflective readers, through contact with challenging and substantial texts where applicable;
- Become familiar with key stories and participate in discussion, explaining their understanding of what is read using visual and auditory support where necessary;
- Encourage the use of wider cultural reading throughout the school and reading for pleasure to promote higher quality discussion and comprehension, where appropriate, alongside a love of reading;
- To promote and enable literacy development through individual learning programmes.
- To have an interest in words, symbols and their meanings and a growing vocabulary where appropriate.
- To develop the use of sight reading in order to increase a child’s familiarity with the high frequency words or symbols they will often encounter without having to decode, segment and blend, so that they can build independence in functional reading.
Launchpad for Literacy
The Launchpad for Literacy is an approach to literacy readiness. It also gives practitioners a tool to clarify what children can do,and identify developmental skill gaps by bridging the gap between spoken language and literacy through focussing on incremental sequences of skills (that may not be at the child’s chronological age.) This enables staff to close any gaps in developmental understanding, whilst avoiding cycles of repeating what a child cannot do and then facilitating interventions and teaching at the correct stages of development and understanding for the individual. It gives teachers and staff a deeper knowledge of improving phonics and longer term literacy outcomes for both reading and writing personalised to each child.
For students who have complex learning difficulties and disabilities (CLDD), the delivery of the curriculum is informed by their Personal Learning Intention Map (PLIM) and/or Social Communication, Emotional Regulation and Transactional Support (SCERTS) Profile provided in conjunction with integrated therapies including speech and language and occupational therapy. This is to ensure that the language of the curriculum is appropriate to each student’s level of understanding. Other approaches such as intensive interaction, attention autism, TACPAC and curiosity time help to develop early communication needs and the ability to attend as a prerequisite for learning. The use of real objects, symbols, photographs and symbols accompanied by text support understanding and engagement in purposeful activity. Pupils on the engagement curriculum do not access subject specific learning and this is reflected in their individual engagement profiles.
Appropriate methods of expression and ICT based systems are used for those students who have difficulty with specific aspects of the curriculum such as reading. Materials are made available in all classrooms guided by students’ interests and enjoyment of various familiar texts. Visual aspects of learning including objects of reference and PECS are also used throughout the curriculum to ensure optimised levels of communication and interaction wherever possible. Symbolic reading is used wherever possible to ensure functional community access and awareness. Some pupils may develop knowledge of common sight words.
Essential Letters and Sounds
Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS) is our chosen Phonics programme. The aim of ELS is
‘Getting all children to read well, quickly’. It teaches children to read by identifying the phonemes (the smallest unit of sound) and graphemes (the written version of the sound) within words and using these to read words.
Children begin learning Phonics when teachers feel that they show signs of being ready.
Phonics is explicitly taught during a dedicated slot on the timetable. Children are given the knowledge and the skills to then apply this independently.
Throughout the day, children will use their growing Phonics knowledge to support them in other areas of the curriculum and will have many opportunities to practise their reading. This includes reading 1:1 with a member of staff, with a partner during paired reading and as a class.
Children continue Phonics lessons through the school to ensure all children become
confident, fluent readers.
We follow the ELS progression and sequence. This allows our children to practise their
existing phonic knowledge whilst building their understanding of the ‘code’ of our language GPCs (Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence). As a result, our children can tackle any unfamiliar words that they might discover.
Children experience the joy of books and language whilst rapidly acquiring the skills they need to become fluent independent readers and writers. ELS teaches relevant, useful and ambitious vocabulary to support each child’s journey to becoming fluent and independent readers.
We begin by teaching the single letter sounds before moving to diagraphs ‘sh’ (two letters spelling one sound), trigraphs ‘igh’ (three letters spelling one sound) and quadgraphs ‘eigh’ (four letters spelling one sound).
We teach children to:
- Decode (read) by identifying each sound within a word and blending them together to read fluently
- Encode (write) by segmenting each sound to write words accurately.
The structure of ELS lessons allows children to know what is coming next, what they need to do, and how to achieve success. This makes it easier for children to learn the GPCs we are teaching (the alphabetic code) and how to apply this when reading.
ELS is designed on the principle that children should ‘keep up’ rather than ‘catch up’. Since interventions are delivered within the lesson by the teacher, any child who is struggling with the new knowledge can be immediately targeted with appropriate support. Where further support is required, 1:1 and small group interventions are used where needed. These interventions are short, specific and effective.
Once pupils are secure in their phonic knowledge, they will begin to read a greater range of texts, such as; non-fiction, poetry and a range of fiction, including Shakespeare. Those working within the Key Stage 2 and 3 curriculum develop reading fluency. As children grow in independence the books become more complex in terms of content, vocabulary and sentence structure.
Pupils are encouraged to talk about what they are reading, share their ideas, voice their own opinions and develop informed responses to texts. The skills of Speaking and Listening and the ability to respond, voice thoughts and opinions is vitally important for our pupils.
Pupils in the 14-19 area of learning will begin an appropriate qualification or accreditation in English that is linked to their prior progress and learning level. This will then support them in their future pathway goals.
In order to meet the needs of a range of pupils with complex needs, there are a number of assessment systems in place to monitor and analyse pupil progress from their individual starting points. These are: Cherry Garden, MAPP, iASEND, SCERTS, and accreditation/qualification course tracking and phonics tracker.
Assessment data is used to inform future planning and to indicate necessary interventions for those pupils who may not have made expected progress. The progress of pupils with complex learning difficulties and disabilities is tracked through MAPP and PLIM targets and focuses on individual communication and interaction, enhanced by personalised motivators and a love of books.
For pupils who are identified as being able to access literacy learning, they are grouped into classes within phase according to their ability and starting point.
Support from parents is vital in ensuring consistency of learning within literacy. Parents are informed of the English group their child is in, the level they are working at and the support that they receive. Children will receive home learning as agreed with parents and when appropriate. Progress is reviewed regularly and parents are informed of any major changes to progress as well as being given updates to targets through the PLIMs being sent home and through the annual EHCP review process.
Supporting Reading at Home:
- Children will only read books that are entirely decodable, this means that they should be able to read these books as they already know the code contained within the book.
- We only use pure sounds when decoding words (no ‘uh’ after the sound)
- We want children to practise reading their book 4 times across the week working on these skills:
Decode – sounding out and blending to read the word.
Fluency – reading words with less obvious decoding.
Expression – using intonation and expression to bring the text to life!
We must use pure sounds when we are pronouncing the sounds and supporting children in reading words. If we mispronounce these sounds, we will make reading harder for our children. Please watch the videos below for how to accurately pronounce these sounds:
More support for parents and carers can be found here: