Reading

At Fox Wood School our aim is to encourage pupils to develop a love of reading – reading independently, to another person or enjoying stories read to them. Pupils read independently and in groups of different sizes. Some pupils will read to other pupils in their classes or as part of group activities.

Our pupils are encouraged to read a variety of material –

  • Colour ‘banded’ reading books such as Oxford Reading Tree books
  • Books from the school, class and local libraries
  • Flashcards with key words
  • Symbol cards with words and symbols / photographs
  • Environmental print – signs for entrance / exit, toilets, logos, etc
  • Photographs which have been made into books
  • Bag books – books which are read to the pupils using items for them to hold and touch which are linked to the story
  • Sensory stories – stories which are told using several things connected with their senses
  • Objects of reference – items which signify a certain thing eg it is time for hydrotherapy
  • Story boards – boards with pictures and symbols which help the pupil to understand the sequence of a story
  • Poems – we have a good stock of sensory poems complete with associated objects to explore
  • Recipes in food technology / enterprise lessons
  • Letters / emails / posters / leaflets etc

For a pupil to learn to read they have to master several important skills.

  1. The pupil has to be able to unlock the code of letters and sounds and / or recognise words by sight
  2. They also have to be able to understand the meaning of the text they are reading.
  3. They need to adopt certain reading behaviours such as turning the pages, holding the book the correct way up, distinguishing between a picture and text.
  4. They need to be able to look at the presentational features of the text such as why the author has used bold text.
  5. The pupils need to look at the use of language in a text and consider what the author was trying to convey to their reader.

Learning to read is a very difficult concept and staff are always looking for highly inventive ways of helping pupils to master these skills. When an adult tells a story to a pupil they use pictures, smells, videos, objects, dressing up materials, food, musical instruments – anything that will bring the story to life for the pupils.

Many pupils are reading books from our ‘banded’ reading scheme. We use a range of publishers and types of books and encourage pupils to select their own reading books from the appropriate coloured ‘band’. We encourage parents to spend time every day listening to their child read and taking part in any reading activities that may be sent home to help support their child with their reading. Parents are also encouraged to take part in the Home School reading Scheme, where books are exchanged once a week and associated flash cards / symbols / activities are sent home for the pupil and parents to engage in home learning activities.

We celebrate World Book Day annually; pupils and staff are invited to dress up as their favourite book character and bring their favourite books in to school. Parents / carers / family members are invited into school to share a story with the class.

Phonics

Pupils need to unlock a code of letters and sounds to help them understand what the author is trying to say. Within the semi-formal and formal curriculum, we place a great emphasis on the teaching of phonics, although we recognise that pupils use many strategies to help them read, such as using the pictures. We use a scheme called Letters and Sounds, which is supported by various other schemes such as Read Write Inc. We also use Makaton signs to support key words and letters.

Phonics is the key to unlocking the code. It is about identifying the sounds that make up a particular word. It starts from the moment they enter the school door, where we encourage pupils to discriminate between sounds –

  • high sounds, low sounds,
  • noisy sounds, quiet sounds
  • familiar and unfamiliar voices
  • familiar and unfamiliar noises

Staff will help pupils to listen and respond to different sounds, for example through play and independent exploration activities, such as animal noises, transport noises, identifying sounds heard at home. Once a pupil has tuned into sounds, can listen, remember and discriminate sounds we look at words as sounds. Pupils are then encouraged to identify the sounds they hear in key words such as their name. We then progress onto CVC words (consonant vowel consonant words such as c-a-t), encouraging them to segment (split) the sounds in a word such as cat and then to blend (put them back together) to make the word such as c-a-t makes cat. All this takes time and staff use highly imaginative ways of encouraging the pupils to learn how to do this. These strategies are then used to help them with their reading and with their spelling.

For further information please contact either the Class Teacher or the Literacy Leader (Lianne Buchanan) through either the Home School Diary or by contacting the office.