Our next Parent Workshop/coffee morning will be on Wednesday 11th October at 10am. We will be sharing how we support children to develop their independence for now and in the future.
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Oaklands School

Building Foundations for Fulfilling Futures

Home Page

Oaklands School

Building Foundations for Fulfilling Futures


Whole School Intent

  • For all children to develop as readers from their unique starting points
  • To ensure pupils can access community & school texts needed for greater independence
  • To ensure pupils have a voice to communicate want, needs and opinions



Literacy at a glance


Whole School Implementation

  • Early reading skills embedded in daily routines and across the curriculum
  • Bespoke resources to build world reading skills
  • Developing a love of reading
  • Mastery approach
  • Graduated approach to phonics

Across the Pathways

Nurture & Willow

Elm & Cherry



  • Developing visual and sound discrimination skills and accuracy
  • Developing segmenting & blending skills
  • Developing love of reading & book sharing skills



  • Supporting later reading through high quality language, songs and rhymes
  • Book Study that matches sensory exploration to narrative understanding
  • Mastery approach
  • High quality re & Phase 1 phonics sessions
  • Targets set through OPAL and link to EHCP outcomes.
  • Learning powers: Explore, Connect and Persevere.



  • Building on visual and sound discrimination skills to develop fluency within Phase 2+ phonics
  • Developing comprehension and decoding skills
  • Developing love of reading & working on independent reading skills



  • Adapted Little Wandle Phonics scheme with matched books
  • Regular Phonics and daily reading sessions
  • Repeated opportunities to practise skills
  • Mastery approach
  • Targets set through OPAL and link to EHCP outcomes
  • Learning powers: Explore, Connect, Persevere and Feel



  • Developing independent reading skills, including prosody and inference skills
  • Developing writing skills
  • Developing complexity of spoken language including explanations and reasoning



  • Adapted Little Wandle Phonics scheme with matched books
  • Regular reading sessions
  • Repeated opportunities to practise skills
  • Whole class and small groups
  • Mastery approach
  • Targets set through OPAL and link to EHCP outcomes
  • Learning powers: Explore, Connect, Persevere, Feel and Reflect

Quality teaching that focuses on language building, communication and interaction is the cornerstone of all our practice. Many of the strategies and approaches we use across the school will also boost literacy skills (listening, speaking in chosen voice, reading & writing) and information on them can be found in other AoL/ Teaching & Learning handbooks. Specifically, literacy-focused strategies used at Oaklands include:

  • Phonics- we have adapted the Letters & Sounds materials for Phase 1 and use Little Wandle Letters & Sounds scheme for all other phases
  • Book Study Units- we want to expose our children to a wide range of high-quality books, poems and songs throughout their time at Oaklands. This will include traditional and contemporary tales from across the world to reflect and celebrate our diverse community. We will choose texts which will often be just above children’s current language levels as we are ambitious for them to be stretched and experience culture and art. We will ensure all children gain something meaningful from these texts through well planned units that build meaning over time and ‘chunk’ learning so that pupils can access the texts. Book study units will have the following format:
  1. Pre-teach core vocabulary & key concepts (e.g., conquering our fears, changes from birth to maturity)
  2. Introduce key characters
  3. Close reading of key images & labelling (predicting/ inferring skills to be modelled & used)
  4. Explore key emotional content & plot points
  5. Read story through (can chunk this after 1 full read through)
  6. Cherry & Chestnut: Explore story further through 5Ws/ summarising/ retelling /
  1. Nurture & Willow & Elm: Explore through sensory elements & tuff spots etc.
  2. Cherry & Chestnut: linked writing tasks (matching/ sentence frames/ summaries etc. / Willow: linked mark-making & matching tasks


  • PECS- See Communication Skills and Interaction & Social Skills (CISS) handbook
  • Colourful Semantics- Colourful semantics is an approach created by Speech & Language Therapist Alison Bryan. It is aimed at helping children to develop their grammar, but it is rooted in the meaning of words (semantics). Colourful semantics reassembles sentences by cutting them up into their thematic roles and then colour codes them. The approach has 4 key colour coded stages to answer the questions Who? What doing? Where? What? There are further stages for adverbs, adjectives, conjunctions and negatives.
  • Dough Disco, Pen Disco & other fine motor & grip strategies are used to support children to develop their hand muscles and develop the grip to use writing implements effectively.
  • World of Books Days are linked to other ‘Big Days’ so that we can deepen children’s awareness and understanding of key cultural and religious events or scientific concepts. Over time we hope to build links with local and national writers and have special performances that are book-related on these days. Their main aim is to promote a love of words and reading
  • Immersive art & performances- watching and being involved in art and performances can create many spontaneous opportunities for communication and self-expression. Through our involvement in the SENsory Atelier project supported by the Arts Council & the Richard Attenborough Centre (beginning in Autumn 2022) we hope to develop our whole team’s expertise in using the arts to support holistic development. 


  • Staff are able to recognise the value of reading skills and place of Phonics within our Literacy curriculum
  • Sensory approach taken to stories which motivate children with strong emphasis on narrative understanding
  • Reading of words is supported by visuals and repetition
  • Music links e.g., days of the week
  • Students are making progress in their OPAL ladders.

Areas for Development

  • Developing our phonics programme so that it is matched to pupils’ needs
  • Fully embedding pre-phonics methods across the curriculum in Nurture to build foundations for future reading
  • Creating more reasons for pupils to want to write
  • Supporting the SIT team to improve their depth of knowledge and then share this with the whole school

Resources, Training and CPD


Staff CPD-see staffshare & OneDrive CPD folders:  Literacy folder