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What does reading look like in your school?

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by lilmisssunshine., Jan 13, 2020.

  1. lilmisssunshine.

    lilmisssunshine. New commenter

    Hi all,

    I’m a newly appointed English Lead in an all abilities (complex, MLD, SLD, PMLD) school that has pupils from EYFS to KS4. I’m currently trying to get to know the classes and what reading looks like for the pupils. We have the Rapid Reading scheme, which the MLD pupils are accessing. Lower down the school they are using sensory phonics/ Letters & Sounds. Further up the school KS3/4 higher ability MLD are concentrating on comprehension and inference skills.
    We have an SLD KS4 class that are finding reading tricky. They have been having phonics sessions aimed at the gaps in their knowledge. A lot of the pupils are also stuck on being able to blend.

    I’d love to get parents involved more but we don’t currently send home reading books unless parents request them. I’d like to change this so that all pupils are taking books home (where appropriate). I know that we would need an updated new reading scheme as our books are a bit fatty and tired now.

    I suppose I’m asking for advice on what to do for the SLD KS4 class, or if reading at home works well in your school.

    I’ve delivered/ booked a few CPD sessions around phonics and reading but I feel that I may need to work 1:1 with some staff on what their class need as they seem to find it tricky to plan reading/ phonics sessions. I know that Ofsted talk a lot about consistently, but I’d like to get to the stage where staff choose what is best for their class and talk confidently about their pupils and the justification for their decisions. I know this is a big ask, especially as not all colleagues are as passionate about teaching reading as I am.

    I’d love to know what works for you and what reading looks like in your schools.

    Thank you! :)
  2. dzil

    dzil Occasional commenter

    It's possible that your KS4 class of learners with SLD are finding synthetic phonics difficult. Especially if you have tried and been systematic and consistent and they still don't seem to get it and are stuck on being able to blend.
    Its easy to underestimate the amount of working memory that is needed to learn to read using synthetic phonics. It just may be beyond this groups current capacity.
    That doesn't rule out learning to read though. Have you looked at using a whole word approach with them? I know it's generally considered somewhat taboo and very old fashioned but it can work, especially if used alongside comprehension work and phonics. It does give a basic reading and writing vocabulary that can lead to an enjoyment of simple texts for pleasure and an ability to decode some simple work and social related texts (menus, instructions etc) at it's most basic and lead to them using analytical phonics to decode more complex texts if they want to follow up their interest. I've used this method with a lot of students and with great success in the past.
    Message me if you want some more specific information.
    lilmisssunshine. and Kartoshka like this.
  3. paulmarkj

    paulmarkj New commenter

    Reading for SLD is:

    recognition of words as symbolic.
    awareness of sounds
    recognising symbols
    development of listening skills
    reading visual timetables
    reading body language
    sensory stories
    experiencing magazines
    recognition of objects

    It is all those things and more. For pupils with SLD they must understand these things. They are all beneficial.
    lilmisssunshine. and dzil like this.
  4. dzil

    dzil Occasional commenter

    replied to your conversation last week (PM) but you may not have seen it.
  5. MilkyBar Kid

    MilkyBar Kid Occasional commenter

    Anyone using a sight reading programme? We are using phonics with some of our pupils still on Phase 1 (satpin) after many years, clearly beyond their ability yet nothing else readily available especially for secondary PMLD students.
  6. dzil

    dzil Occasional commenter

    I have used sight reading with good effect with some students with SLD, but not with students with PMLD.

    In developmental terms, people with PMLD are working within the "old" ability levels of P1 to P3 (the even "older" level that was known as sensori-motor cognition) They are at the very early stages of symbolic understanding. I have always felt that teaching anything to do with language, whether that is oral, visual or physical (sign for example) you need to start at the level the child is working at and movie them to the next level. If you try to skip developmental stages, your can cause so many difficulties in the future. It is very easy to inadvertently teach someone to talk with limited awareness of what they are saying by encouraging speech before understanding; just as you can teach someone to "bark at print" by teaching phonics without comprehension. The student needs to have enough internal language to be able to process and understand a word they are blending. Not to mention enough working memory to manage all the complex processes involved at once.

    At P3 (top end of ability for students with PMLD) they are only just beginning to recognise that one thing can be used to symbolise another - e.g a cup means "I am going to get a drink". They may just be able to recognise a very clear photograph of a familiar person against a plain background as representing that person. They haven't really sorted out the ability to make 2D colours on paper into 3D images in their minds. If they are at this level of understanding, they are a very long way from being able to recognise that a grapheme can represent a phoneme. They can recognise a familiar voice and the tone and maybe understand a few familiar spoken words. They are unlikely to be able to use more than a word or two themselves, although their familiar carers will be able to work out what they are communicating from their sounds, tones and body language which will be mainly concerned with needs and wants. They are unlikely to be able to segment speech into individual phonemes, although they may be able to copy them or repeat words said to them.

    Having said all that - if you want some ideas for using sight vocabulary with students with SLD, just PM me (TES call it a a conversation I think you get a link via your avatar, or mine) I am also happy to expand on developing symbolic understanding and how this can be considered "reading" for a student with PMLD.
    lilmisssunshine. likes this.

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