Literacy and Communication at Addington
Our aim is that every pupil will be able to communicate in the way best suited to his or her needs, both in school and out in the wider community. We provide a ‘Total Communication’ environment so that pupils are enabled to communicate whenever and wherever they are.
We also aim to provide a rich and broad literacy experience through verbal, non-verbal and written forms, appropriate to the developmental needs of each child. We aim to provide the foundations and building blocks of reading and writing to enable our pupils to access these in a way that is suited to them. These skills can then be transferred to daily life beyond school years, enabling our pupils to access as independent a life as possible as they move into adulthood.
Literacy and Communication extends across all curriculum areas and is one of the key components on every pupil’s personal learning plan. Communication is key to enabling our pupils to access learning. We work closely with the Speech and Language team (SaLT) and the Autism team (ASD) to support pupils and train staff in using Total Communication in all classes (please see our Total Communication policy for more detail). SaLT provide bespoke speech and language therapy plans for those who need them. To develop social communication, we use Intensive Interaction© and/or Attention Autism© for our pre- and semi-formal learners. Our more formal learners follow Alex Kelly Talkabout© Social Skills scheme.
We build our learners’ pre-reading skills from the very beginning, with the aim that all will access reading or reading-based activities to suit their developmental level (please see our ‘Roots to Reading’ document for more detail). We build on these foundational skills through teaching systematic synthetic phonics, in whichever form the pupils is developmentally ready for; regular exposure to texts suited to a child’s phonic level; and reading a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction texts for pleasure, presented in a way that is appropriate to the developmental level of the child. We also use several classroom strategies to boost the teaching of reading and writing, including See and Learn©, social sight words, Write Words, colourful semantics© and shape coding™, Call and Response and sensory story. Our pupils develop at their own pace, so while some are accessing writing through early mark making and/or sensory play, others are engaging in shared or independent writing. We have a topic-based approach which means that literacy skills can be taught whilst reading and learning stories, gaining history or geography knowledge and engaging in practical experiences such as cooking and trips outside school.
In KS4 and 5, we move to a more work-related learning approach and our students follow ‘pathways’. Literacy and Communication extend across all pathways. Functional Skills in Literacy are taught as a discrete lesson, to those on a work skills pathway.
A strong ethos of Total Communication and wide-ranging classroom strategies to develop literacy skills ensure that every pupil’s individual needs are met. Our children will become effective communicators and their learning environment will allow them to develop literacy skills at their own pace.
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