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Oaklands School

Making Learning Fun

Home Page

Oaklands School

Making Learning Fun


Literacy at Oaklands

Literacy at Oaklands is planned and delivered to encompass reading, writing, speaking and listening across the curriculum. Lessons are tailored to meet the individual needs and levels of all pupils and to ensure that they are fun and interesting to excite and engage pupils in their learning.


It is very important to support and encourage your child to read and to provide opportunities to access lots of different books and reading material. Being able to recognise letters and sounds and break words down into segments helps to develop their reading, writing, speaking and listening skills.
Reading can be a scary task for your child, make it fun!

At Oaklands pupils are encouraged to engage in and enjoy reading books, independently or with their peers and adults during book sharing time.

Children should be encouraged to read a variety of material:

  • Books from the school and class libraries.
  • Flashcards with key words
  • Environmental print – how many children recognise the sign for McDonalds or Tesco?
  • Photographs which have been made into books about themselves and the adventures they have – social stories.
  • Videos showing their activities in school
  • Bag books – books which are read to the children using items for them to hold and touch which have meaning to the story.
  • Sensory stories – stories which are told using several props/elements connected with their senses
  • Objects of reference – items which signify a certain thing e.g. it is time for soft play
  • Symbols – simple diagrams which have relevance to the child.
  • Story boards – boards with pictures and symbols which help the child to understand the sequence of a story and even tell it to another.

Sensory stories are a great way to make reading more fun and interesting and are used in all classes throughout Oaklands, songs, sounds, actions and props are used to bring the story to life and to encourage participation in story telling. Pupils are encouraged to explore the props during the story, use the props for role play, copy actions and join in with repeated words and lines from the story.

Children with SLD (Severe Learning Disabilities) can find learning to read conventional text cognitively very demanding, so inclusive reading in which they can participate is important.

Children should have opportunities to:

  • Look at books of all kinds e.g.: picture story books, flap books, personal books, talking books
  • Explore how hold books the correct way
  • Choose a book from the shelf and replace it
  • Turn pages of a book from front to back
  • ‘Read’ the book with an adult
  • Point to pictures when requested (in response to known vocabulary)
  • Point to pictures and name familiar objects/ people
  • Point to individual words (not necessarily reading them)
  • Point to words from left to right
  • Make and ‘read’ personal books

Children who are developing past their pre-reading and basic reading skills are taught through guided reading sessions.

Phonics is taught through interactive sessions with whole classes, small groups or 1:1 interventions. Pupils are supported in their development of sound (grapheme and phoneme) recognition through games and rhymes. Children are initially taught to listen to and recognise environmental sounds e.g. instruments, animals, sounds around the school/home before they progress to letter sound discrimination.

Ideas for home:

  1. Have a variety of reading books available for your child to access and pick up and read when they like at home. Engage in reading a book with them when they show interest, even if it is only for a short while.
  2. Play games like ‘I spy’ to encourage their recognition of things that sound the same.
  3. Sing songs and rhymes and allow them to finish the lines to encourage their understanding of rhyming words.
  4. Encourage them to have a go at reading words they can see around them, repeat the word correctly if they read it wrong and encourage them to copy.
  5. Go on ‘listening walks’ around the house and outside to listen to and name the different sounds you can hear.
  6. Play ‘snap’ games with letters and simple cvc words e.g. cat, hat, mat, sat tin, pin.


In order for children to develop their writing skills, it is important to support and develop their fine and gross motor skills. Writing progression and pencil control requires the ability to use a pincer grip to hold a pencil. At Oaklands pupils take part in daily hand group sessions, where they complete tasks and activities designed to help them build their hand strength and develop their motor skills to support their pencil control.

  • Using tweezers to pick up small objects and transfer them from one container to another.
  • Using pipettes to transfer water.
  • Building with lego©.
  • Building structures usi9ng connector toys
  • Shaping and manipulating play-doh
  • Shaping and manipulating play foam
  • Hand action songs.
  • Lacing cards to lace string through small and larger holes.
  • Threading using big and small beads.
  • Using grains of rice to create a picture.

Children can show reluctance towards writing, so it is important to make it fun and interesting. At the mark making stage children are encouraged to use their hands and fingers to make any marks they like using various mediums:

  • Paint
  • Glitter
  • Shaving foam
  • Sand
  • Corn flour and water

These mediums can be used to encourage children to write who have progressed past the mark making stage, using different writing implements and tools such as lolly pop sticks, straws, chopsticks etc to draw pre-writing shapes and letters.

When children are developing their ability to write words and sentences it is important to inspire them and make it interesting. Linking their writing to their favourite stories or subjects, or exciting things they have done at school or home helps to encourage their imagination and make them want to write.

Communication – Speaking and Listening

For children with special educational needs preferred communication methods include the use of body language, facial expression, eye-pointing, objects of reference to signal events or indicate choices, communication aids, photographs, pictures and symbols, print, signing, sounds and the spoken word. At Oaklands an augmentative communication system is used across the school to support and encourage every pupil’s communication. A combination of spoken word, Makaton signing, symbols and objects of reference are used to support understanding.

PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) is used school wide to support and develop communication. The level/stage of PECS is tailored for each individual child to fully support their needs and is used to encourage their communication throughout the school day.

Children are given Speaking and Listening targets from their Speech and Language Therapists and these are worked on in class through group and individual sessions.

Speech and Language interventions are also provided for children who require additional support to achieve their targets and are run by trained Teaching Assistants.

Pupils at Oaklands are also taught the rules and skills involved in social and conversational communication and interaction. They are encouraged to take turns, use the names of their peers or point to their peers, gain attention appropriately from adults and listen to each other.

Tips on talking to your child


  1. Find time every day to talk with each of your children
  2. Answer your child’s questions as best as you can and ask them questions.
  3. Don’t talk for your child. Some children don’t talk because others talk for them (this often happens to the youngest child in the family).
  4. Don’t use baby talk. Use the proper names for things, e.g. “car” not a “beep beep”
  5. When your child makes a mistake in speech, don’t correct him/her. Re-phrase it, for example: Child: “I closes the door” Adult: “Good boy, you closed the door” Encourage your child to express his/her opinion.
  6. Remove distractions. Don’t try to talk over the television or the radio.
  7. Wait for your child to say what he wants to say
  8. Have eye contact (where possible) with your child as he/she speaks to you.
  9. Listen to your child, try not to interrupt.
  10. Take turns. Talk and listen to each other.


Ideas for home:
* Please see document below