Literacy at Pond Meadow

At Pond Meadow School, we recognise that print literacy is the gateway to the autonomy, self-advocacy and human connection needed for our pupils to thrive in later life.  As a result, we maintain “literacy optimism”, a belief that everyone is capable of learning to read and write when they are provided with the best instructions and experiences. 

Our narrow focus on literacy as print-based reading and writing is not intended to exclude pupils in any way.  It is designed as a long-term aspirational goal that ensures all our pupils receive robust emergent literacy experiences that could facilitate progression to conventional literacy instruction.  We maintain an ethos of, “No student is too anything to be able to read and write.” (Dr David Yoder)

We use individualised teaching approaches for all our pupils, ensuring that learning is accessible, meaningful, and functional.  Personalised communication systems lie at the heart of accessible learning, therefore, clear expressive and receptive communication strategies are in place for every pupil. 

We adopt a multi-sensory approach to learning which provides our pupils with opportunities to: develop their visual, auditory and tactile discrimination skills; develop skills relating to word recognition; and participate in language rich experiences that extend their understanding of the world. 

Literacy is taught throughout the key stages, following guidance from the National Curriculum updated in May 2015 and the EYFS framework in the Foundation Stage.  The pupils work at relevant and appropriate levels relating to their personalised targets.  Their progress is recorded on 'Evidence for Learning', an platform and the tools to develop and demonstrate connected practice which links curriculum, pedagogy and assessment.

Intent

  • To foster a culture of “literacy optimism”
  • To maintain a language rich environment and a total communication approach
  • To facilitate access to stories and texts by overcoming barriers to access for each pupil
  • To establish clear learning profiles and appropriate learning pathways for each pupil
  • To rigorously monitor pupil progress in all areas of word recognition and language comprehension
  • To foster a love of reading with all adults and pupils demonstrating an enthusiasm for stories, poems, songs and rhymes

Implementation for academic year 2021-22

  • Daily discrete phonics taught for 15 minutes in the lower school. 
  • Pupils following our emergent learning pathway will explore Phase 1 of Letters and Sounds, as well as develop their alphabetic knowledge through a ‘letter of the week’ programme.  Students will also be provided with opportunities to develop their tactile and visual discrimination skills.
  • Pupils following our conventional learning pathway will follow Phase 2+ of Letters and Sounds, supported by the teaching resources provided by Bug Club Phonics. 
  • Continuous literacy provision throughout the day for all pupils
  • Pupils will read regularly with an adult for a variety of purposes
  • Pupils will take part in daily independent reading sessions
  • Pupils will take part in daily writing activities, using conventional mark-making methods, as well as typing and using partner-assisted scanning
  • All teaching staff will model good reading behaviours, particularly good listening
  • Clear learning profiles and pathways will be set for each pupil
  • Robust assessment to identify any pupil who is not making expected progress

Impact

At Pond Meadow, we use both formative and summative assessment to track pupil progress and ensure that we are meeting individual learning needs.  By creating a culture of continuous literacy provision, we help pupils understand the value in learning to read and write.  Every pupil is considered a reader and provided with opportunities to engage with the print that surrounds our everyday lives. 

As well as modelling the functional uses of literacy, we create a positive reading culture that instils a love of books.  With access to suitably motivating texts that are presented in accessible formats, pupils will begin to read for pleasure, choosing to access books during free time and at home.  Pupils may also read as a self-regulation strategy. 

Pupils will make progress in areas related to engagement, shown by increased interaction with staff and peers during shared reading.  They will also make progress in areas related to communication, offering opinions on texts and their experience of reading them.  Pupils will experience a language rich curriculum and expand their vocabulary as a result. 

We have high expectations that all pupils will make appropriate progress against their IEP targets, as well as our English Framework in 'Evidence for Learning'.  Any pupil who is not making expected progress will be identified and receive targeted support.