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Literacy: Symbols, Phonics and Words

At Kingsley we value reading, in all it's forms!  Children develop their skills  in reading and recording in many different ways and we foster a love of  sharing literature - for pleasure , leisure and wellbeing. 


Interpreting Symbolic Information

Reading and recording (writing) skills are developed using systems appropriate to pupil’s levels of development and sensory needs. Children ‘read’ and record using a range of systems and media; such as placing and interpreting objects of association, reading and recording using symbols (Picture Communication Symbols from Mayer Johnson are used), pictures and photos. Structured teaching of a symbol vocabulary is often necessary. For some children  a focus on reading  traditional texts is inappropriate . For some of these children symbol systems will form the basis of their functional reading and writing and this approach  is taught systematically to be a functional system.

Other children will use symbols to support their reading/ or to allow curricular access and a level of independence  , for learning to read traditional text may be a very long process and pupils may not  attain functional reading skills for some time.


Approaches based on Colourful Semantics are utilised to support symbol based recording for many children, in addition to the benefits in developing receptive and expressive language.


Reading of Traditional Text


Phonics is taught (as appropriate) using a synthetic phonics approach. There is an eclectic approach to resources, including Jolly Phonics, Oxford-reading tree (including Project X), Follyfoot Farm, Read, write inc, the Letters and Sounds programmes and multi-sensory teaching.  We choose this approach over a reliance on a single programme, as our entire philosophy is rooted in engagement, motivation and personalization. We therefore expect to move across schemes,


Whole word reading: The Whole Word method of reading instructs learners to recognise words as whole units without breaking them down into sounds or letter groupings. It focuses on the word as the minimum unit of meaning and therefore the essential base element of reading. For many of our pupils, particularly those with ASD, this is a particularly powerful approach and may be their primary learning tool.


The Reading Schemes have been organized into colour-coded levels, following the Book Bands for Guided Reading (Reading Recovery Network).  This gives children a wide breadth of different reading styles and content within any one reading level, providing for  repeated practice wthin one level .  It also offers children the opportunity to select their own books from within a wide choice.. We also enjoy a well stocked library!

At the early pre-reading level (black), children’s literacy skills are developed by picture books, word labels and captions, and simple symbol or text books made in school, relevant to the individual child or the current unit of work.