At GSSC we know that Reading is more than an academic skill; it is a tool that can unlock the world and afford meaning to our environments. We approach our teaching of reading holistically as we do all our learning. We want skills to be transferable and useful, to enable us to be the best we can be and achieve to our own highest ability. We recognise that reading aids communication; whether seeing meaning and recognising photos, TOBIs, symbols or words, we are developing our ability to understand and receive information. This in turn will enable pupils to form sentences and communicate. ‘Reading’ for our pupils happens in all our environments.
Beyond reading as a tool, our pupils are immersed into a love for stories throughout the curriculum, stories that are told with pictures, puppets, characters and drama, and stories that are framed with words that we can learn to recognise and match to story elements. When motivated and engaged a desire to read is fostered.
The impact of reading throughout our school is that all of our pupils seek out information from their environment and find this in a form that is accessible to them all as individuals. Being able to find out information for ourselves is an empowering life skill that gives confidence and fosters independence. Pupils become investigative learners who demonstrate curiosity and understand that they can respond to their world in a variety of ways. For those that go onto also love stories, whether shared with them or read by themselves, this also raises self-esteem.
Pupils at the pre formal level (Detectives and Explorers) engage in reading by listening to stories, exploring sensory elements to stories and immersive experiences where objects are used to bring real world understanding into shared texts. Objects of reference are also used for understanding information around us and as a form of receptive language in our environment.
These experiences are built upon and extended at the semi-formal level. Our Investigators build skills for reading by accessing receptive language and structured elements of their day using their accessed communication level. This could be photos, TOBIs, symbols or words. They understand that these systems give information. This makes our reading for a real life purpose and meaningful. Of course, a love of stories, non-fiction texts and reading for pleasure is also nurtured. We have a working library managed by our pupils, accessible to all that also encourages a love for reading. Pupils are encouraged to read in class, as a ‘choose’ and with parents at home. Through the curriculum we listen to sounds in the environment around us; what information do they give? We also learn to listen for sounds in our words and start to write. Stage 1 and 2 phonics aid both our reading and writing.
Our Researchers on the formal curriculum extend their ability to read by using reading as a skill to access other aspects of their lessons and curriculum. Reading scaffolds learning and is scaffolded itself with symbols where required. Reading informs their environment too and structures their day. It is meaningful and purposeful at appropriate levels. Pupils share books and stories as a class as a basis for comprehension, to take them to different environments and to find out about the world. Pupils share newspapers in citizenship lessons and use that to inform their own school newspaper. Pupils borrow books from the library and have opportunities to relax with a book. A variety of reading schemes can support reading at different levels and reading out loud is encouraged.
Reading is promoted across the whole school in days such as World Book Day and also National Story Telling week.