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Our Model and the Teaching of Reading

At Kingsley we love learning and our curriculum is designed to be robust and rigorous and above all fun! The curriculum has a high degree of flexibility allow us to meet the needs of each child as they develop.  Pupils learning needs may be identified as originating from one of the four different houses  of our curriculum model :-


WOW, Cognitive Curriculum House.

The first strand of our model encompasses the subjects, skills and knowledge leading up to and included in The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum and the National Curriculum (2014). This includes specialised content for our earliest learners. Research tells us that in order to engage with the curriculum and make progress, children (& adults) need to enjoy their learning  and this is significantly  enhanced by memorable or WOW ACTIVITIES. Themes have been selected as vehicles for curricular delivery which spark interest and excitement in the pupils. 


Social and Emotional Development 

The executive functioning skills of emotional control and monitoring tend to sit within this house, as does our sensory integration programme. This quadrant also holds our over-riding behaviour and motivation policy and procedures. The work associated with this aspect is augmented through the work of our family support team, offering individual interventions as well as supporting families to be full partners in their children's learning


Metacognition Skills 

Here we focus on the development of the children's learning to learn skills and thinking skills: This area encompasses many of our focused Executive Functioning skills. Executive functions consist of a set skills that help the individual respond, organize and act on information. These skills enable us to moderate our behaviour, plan, organize, remember things, prioritize, pay attention and get started on tasks. They also help our children use information and experiences from the past to solve current problems. This house also includes the Key skills as identified in the  'National Curriculum' (2000). Due to the nature of our pupil’s development, the importance of these skills is heightened. Whilst the key skills of Literacy and Communication, Numeracy and ICT are delivered in specific and cross curricular modes, we have identified the key skills of Problem solving & Independent Enquiry, Working with others and Reflecting on Learning as being of equal importance. These are linked with specific themes in our curricular map to promote planned teaching & learning opportunities in these areas, which are particularly important to the long-term development of our pupils.


EHCP/IEP (identified within the pupils IEP)

These areas derive from the child's educational and Health Care Plan , and are a distillation of what is a priority  at a particular moment in time. It helps us ensure that our curriculum is responsive to the changing needs of each child. The content of this house may in fact come from any of the other houses, but these allow us to highlight individual priorities


* The complexity and flexibility of our curriculum means that each child's needs can be provided for as they change and evolve.  The balance of these houses and prioritise will vary for individual pupils and will alter over time.




Reading at Kingsley: Symbols, Words and Phonics


At Kingsley, we prioritise reading in all its forms. We encourage children to develop their reading and writing skills in various ways and promote a love of literature for pleasure, leisure, learning, and well-being.


Interpreting Symbolic Information

Students' reading and writing skills are developed using appropriate systems that correspond to their levels of development and sensory needs. For instance, children use a variety of systems and media to read and record information, including interpreting objects of association, using symbols (such as Picture Communication Symbols from Mayer Johnson), pictures, and photos. It is often necessary to teach children a structured symbol vocabulary to help them develop functional skills.


It's important to understand that some children may not be ready to read traditional text at a certain stage in their development. For these children, symbol systems can be an effective way to teach them functional reading and writing. Other children may benefit from using symbols to support their reading and learning while they work towards attaining fluent and functional reading skills with traditional text. This process may take some time, but it allows these children to have access to the curriculum and a level of independence.


Colourful Semantics is used to support symbol-based recording for children, aiding in the development of receptive and expressive language.


Reading of Traditional Text

We acknowledge that our pupils have different ways of learning to read. Our staff observes and uses this information to guide their teaching approach. As a general guide, Phonics (Level 1) is deemed appropriate for pupils who have reached K6 in their reading and language strands. However, teachers should always be watchful of children who are not scoring these levels but are exhibiting reading skills. This is especially true for those with profound and multiple barriers to learning (PMBL).



Phonics is taught (when appropriate) using a synthetic phonics approach. We have adopted Twinkl Phonics to form the spine of our reading teaching, providing a cohesive, whole-school approach and a progressive, consistent phonics curriculum.


Reading books follow the same progression as the phonic scheme, so that children encounter texts that are fully decodable. Twinkl’s linked Rhino readers are used as our core reading scheme supported by Twinkl minibooks. We recognise that our pupils may need more opportunities to apply their phonic knowledge. As such we have matched other phonically decodable schemes (Follyfoot farm, & Project X) to correlate to Twinkl phonics progression.


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 potent approach and may be their primary learning tool. This preference is acknowledged and used to support individual learning. These pupils are also introduced to synthetic phonics to provide them with strategies to decode new vocabulary.