My Language & Literacy
This curriculum area is at the heart of everything we do and is embedded in all areas of learning. We teach our pupils to express themselves, their preferences and wishes, using their preferred method of communication.
Communication and Interaction:
Pupils are encouraged to expand their range of communication skills as they progress through the school. They are supported to engage in discussions and presentations initially with visual aids and scaffolding, gradually building towards independence, as appropriate. Across the school we offer Communication Friendly Environments that promote a variety of communication methods and work closely with the Speech and Language Therapists to support pupils to establish their own preferred methods. Evergreen predominantly use Makaton signing, Widgit symbols, standardised Room Locators (a form of Objects of Reference), standardised Aided Language Displays (ALDs) for communal rooms/activities and transitional cues to aid all pupils’ understanding. However, we also use more bespoke methods to support with individual communication needs, including Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices, PECS, switches, on-body signing and Objects of Reference, to name a few.
Reading, and particularly reading for pleasure, is central to everything we do with our creative topic-based curriculum approach using a ‘book as the hook’ and ensuring exciting literature is at the heart of all of our topics. We offer a range of rich Literature that reflects diversity and different life experience. We utilise the books recommended by The Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE), who aim to enhance the achievement of children’s reading and writing by helping schools to teach literacy creatively and effectively, putting quality books at the centre of all learning. We make Literature accessible for all, through the use of Sensory Stories, audio and video texts, Bag Books, Makaton, the use of e-books, Story Massage and also utilise programs such as Communicate in Print to create accessible books and text to allow for greater reading experiences.
We currently offer two Reading Schemes; our newest scheme comprises books from the ‘Rhino Readers’ collection which is produced by Twinkl Phonics (the phonics scheme we follow at Evergreen) and is suitable for those pupils who are progressing phonetically with their reading skills.
We also offer a book-banded system, hereby books are categorised by different colours based on the level of complexity of the book and the level of comprehension required. We have chosen this method to enable us to provide a breadth of books from various reading schemes within each colour band. Thus providing more choice and allowing pupils to be exposed to a wider variety of texts that are closely matched to their reading ability, including those pupils who are whole-word readers.
Our book band system is composed of books from the following schemes:
- Dockside (books that are appropriate for older pupils working at a lower reading age)
- Oxford Reading Tree (ORT)
- Oxford Literacy Web (OLW)
- Jelly and Bean
- Go Facts Readers
- Wellington Square
- Rhyme World
- Project X
- Story World
- Early Readers
- Read, Write Inc.
- Engage Literacy
- Colin’s Big Cat
- DK Readers
- Eye Witness Readers
For our older students, as we prepare for adulthood, our reading work becomes more functional in its approach and allows students to work towards Functional Skills English qualifications, where appropriate.
At Evergreen, we teach phonics by following the ‘Twinkl Phonics’ Government validated SSP phonics programme:
Parents and Carers can find out more information by via the Twinkl Teaches EYFS YouTube channel where you can find introduction videos to phonics and ways to support your child at home.
Fine Motor and Writing:
Pupils will develop their pre-writing and writing skills to use their marks/writing to put across meaning in a range of contexts and for a variety of audiences and purposes. We aspire for our pupils to reach a level of functional writing skills i.e. be able to complete a form / job application whether through typing or writing, to help them achieve employability in life after school. At the start of this journey, our EY and Roots classes will have access to continuous provision activities that encourage early writing skills such as making marks in sensory resources, experimenting with different tools and early cause and effect actions with their bodies, to help them develop the understanding that their bodies can create an outcome. From when a pupil starts with us, we work on developing gross and fine motor skills to support with their writing skills. As a pupil’s writing ability progresses, they will be encouraged to write for a range of different purposes and learn to structure writing in different ways for different purposes.
It is important to note, that some pupils may access functional writing skills in a method that suits their strengths e.g. for learners who struggle with the physicality of holding writing tools but is able to cognitively structure sentences and spell words, learning to type or text rather than write with a pen, or learning to structure sentences using communication books/AAC device is still recognised as writing. Such adaptations will be decided on an individual basis and although this may be their primary route of learning, other methods will continue to be offered and available.
Recommended APPs for Learners with Dyslexia/ Reading and Writing difficulties
Advice on supporting Literacy difficulties
Head of Language & Literacy – Lisa Cleveley