Reading at Southfield
At Southfield, we want all our pupils to be readers. We aim to ensure a balanced mix of approaches to reading so that our pupils achieve the skills required, have a positive attitude, confidence and develop a life-long love of literature, regardless of their starting points.
Communication and functional Literacy skills are key drivers in our curriculum. Without them our pupils' access to the wider world would be limited further. Social engagement will only become a reality for our pupils if they develop their communication, reading and writing skills.
Southfield’s reading approach consists of two dimensions:
- Reading skills (Reading for information and learning how to read (phonics, comprehension, fluency))
- Reading for pleasure (enjoyment of reading, being read to, listening to text, engagement with text through role play and sensory stories)
Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both, is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. This is why phonics is emphasised throughout the early stages of reading.
In the later stages we make sure good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (in particular of vocabulary and grammar) and on knowledge of the world. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher and support staff, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction. We teach reading skills in the post-phonic teaching stage (generally in our Southfield Phase 3 class), such as inference, skimming and scanning. These are taught in a discrete guided reading session but then used and developed across the curriculum.
All pupils are encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum.
Whole class, reading aloud together is encouraged, as it supports the less confident, models prosody and develops fluency.
A class story is read by an adult to the pupils at the end of each day, which will be a text that is a little above their reading ability, in order to expose them to more challenging vocabulary and encourage a love of reading.
For children working on their Pre-Reading Skills (Pre-Phase 1 and Phase 1 phonic level), the focus is on sharing stories, song and rhymes together and building speaking and listening skills. Children will engage in daily activities that support their motivation for reading, print awareness, comprehension and phonological awareness.
Our pupils are encouraged to:
- Listen to, recognise and recall sounds around them i.e. listening to environmental sounds, learning sounds through music and encouraging them to communicate about what they hear, see and do using their preferred method of communication.
- Engage in Intensive Interaction (back & forth communication) where pupils learn to read body language and facial expressions (Attention Learning also known as Attention Autism)
- Enjoy sensory stories and opportunities to engage in play writing and reading using role play.
- Engage with enthusiastic staff to share books, making curriculum links through literature.
- Access a well-stocked library with a wide range of high-quality texts.
- Access a range of books in the classroom which pupils are able to select themselves i.e. books shelves or book boxes in low arousal classrooms.
Attention Learning aims to develop natural and spontaneous communication through the use of visually based and highly motivating activities. The primary objective is that the sessions offer an irresistible invitation to engage in learning.
Unlocking Letter and Sounds (ULS): Phonics Programme
Our Phonics Programme is Unlocking Letters and Sounds (ULS), which meets the Dfe’s validated Systematic Synthetic Phonics (SSP*) criteria (2021/2022).
We have chosen this because ULS uses Ransom phonics books which offer ‘high interest, low demand’ books for children who may struggle with reading and as such are well matched to pupils with SEN/D. They offer ‘interventions’ as well, which give additional support.
There is a focus on letter formation along with actions and ‘patter’ to support this, which are beneficial to our learners and works well with our multi-sensory approach (The font is HfW precursive, which is used on worksheets and most displays). ULS includes some National Curriculum suffixes in Phase 5, which adds meaning and function to words as well as linking to spelling in the National Curriculum.
There will be new books and resources published for the programme over time, so that we are able to provide lots of opportunities for practice in different ways.
The programme includes Phase 1 (pre-phonics), which we believe our learners need. There is also a supplementary Phase 1 ‘Super Sounds’ programme which is in the Phonics Scheme of Work folder.
Baseline assessments are completed for each child at the beginning, of the academic year and again in the last 2 weeks of each term. These help ensure progress is being made. Teachers keep ongoing records within this period so interventions can be used in a timely manner.
* SSP : It is an approach which teaches children to recognise letters (graphemes) and their associated sounds (phonemes). It involves breaking the word down into the smallest units of sound.
All pupils take a ‘Reading for Pleasure’ book home each week. They also take home an ULS phonics phase matched book.
Parents are requested to support their child either by reading to them or encouraging them to read.
Books travel back and forth between home and school on a daily basis, so pupils have multiple opportunities to read. A reading record is also used at home and school.
All books are changed on a weekly basis and these are recorded by the class staff. Class staff also keep a log of reading for each child to track progress and note areas that need additional support e.g. blending, so that interventions are quickly put in place.
We link up our more experienced readers with those that are in the earlier reading stages. We have found this to be a very positive experience for all involved . Not only does it support reading in its entirety but also promotes social communication skills and confidence building. Sessions are timetabled for at least once per week.
World Book Day
Although we don’t do a ‘dress up day’ for this event, we mark the event in a variety of other ways which tend to change year on year. It might be ‘guess the staff member’s favourite book’, character quiz, favourite reading place pictures or making something that a character in a book might like for a gift, to name but a few.
As a school we value the vital role our learning environment plays in the teaching and learning of our children. Therefore, reading is incorporated into the whole school environment.
- Books/ reading material in each class
- Visual supports are used at the appropriate level of the children to support verbal communication
- School library
- Clear, visual labels are used throughout the school, which are dyslexia friendly
- Games that encourage reading are available
- Daily phonics sessions and classroom phonic activities (see phonic guidance)
- The use of software such as InPrint to create visual symbols
- Class displays linked to theme-based stories and relevant curriculum vocabulary clearly displayed
If you would like to find out more about the curriculum, please read the Teaching and Learning policy and have a look at our School SEND Offer. There is also additional information in the Our Parents section. You can also use the school contact details found on the main page of the website for more information.