Literacy, Language and Communication
Literacy is both an academic and a life skills. The main elements of literacy are Oracy (speaking and listening) Reading and Writing. In order to encourage our pupils to achieve in literacy we deliver a bespoke curriculum to suit the individual needs of each child to allow them to fulfil their potential. The literacy approaches are taught both discreetly and through cross curricular methods. Such as Eye Gaze Technology, Visuals with Communicating Print (Signs, Timelines and Timetables), Verbal, Makaton Sign Language, Written, Thrive and through communication aids.
Our literacy approaches include:
- Attention Autism-Joint and Shared Attention Approach
- Uffculme Pre-Reading Scheme
- Read, Write, Inc Phonic Scheme
- Pictorial, Educational Communication System (PECS)
- Social, Communication, Emotional Regulation and Transactional Support (SERTS)
- Communication Sessions
- Oxford Reading Scheme
- Project X Reading Scheme
- Class Libraries
- Pre-Literacy to Level 1 Literacy Accreditation in ASDAN-Towards Independence, New Horizons, Transition Challenge and Personal Progress. Agored Cymru-Essential Skills Wales- Communication.
- Internal and External Literacy Moderation Systems.
- South Wales Cross Consortium Literacy Moderation
- Ysgol Hen Felin internal Literacy Moderation
Attention Autism sessions, known as Bucket Time, is an approach devised by Gina Davies. It is delivered in individual classes and works for pupils with autism and non-autistic pupils. The approach focuses on developing attention and engagement levels of pupils with a focus on joint and shared attention.
Uffculme is a progressive pre-reading scheme that supports pupils in developing the building block skills that need to be in place before reading can start.
Read Write Inc. Phonics is a structured programme – designed to ensure children learn to read accurately and fluently. Comprehensive planning is provided for teachers so they can channel their energy and creativity into teaching fun and engaging lessons:
- Learning the letter formation and phrases.
- Learning the letter sounds.
- Using different multi-sensory methods to learn how to form and write letters.
- Blend sound together together to read and write words.
- Tricky words-learning irregular words that do not follow phonetic conventions.
Read, Write, Inc. Reading
Children learn the English alphabetic code: first they learn one way to read the 40+ sounds and blend these sounds into words, then learn to read the same sounds with alternative graphemes.
They experience success from the very beginning. Lively phonic books are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and ‘tricky’ words and, as children re-read the stories, their fluency increases.
Along with a thought-provoking introduction, prompts for thinking out loud and discussion, children are helped to read with a storyteller’s voice
Read, Write, Inc. Writing
The children write, rehearsing out loud what they want to say, before spelling the words using the graphemes and ‘tricky’ words they know.
They practise handwriting: sitting at a table comfortably, they learn correct letter formation and how to join letters speedily and legibly.
Children’s composition (ideas, vocabulary and grammar) is developed by drawing on their own experiences and talking about the stories they read
Reading progresses by supporting the child to develop phonic awareness, word recognition and reading comprehension skills. Every child will follow their own learning need e.g. phonics maybe harder for a child who cannot make the correct sounds so blending would not make sense to them. Therefore, that child may learn to read through developing good word recognition skills supported by phonic knowledge.
The whole word method of learning to read involves recognising words as a whole unit through developing these skills:
- Sight-memorization techniques.
- Reading Aloud.
- Prioritising finding engaging reading material.
- Comprehension exercises
Oxford Reading Tree
Ysgol Hen Felin use the Oxford Reading Tree Scheme, including series such as Floppy's Phonics, Biff, Chip and Kipper, Traditional Tales, Songbirds Phonics, inFact, and Story Sparks. A separate range of books, each containing supporting notes, have been created to support learning.
Project X Reading Scheme
Alien Adventures is an award-winning reading series. The series follows the action-packed, gadget-filled adventures of Max, Cat, Ant, and Tiger as they journey through space. We use Project X reading books for pupils in the 14-19 Department as their have more adult themes and the action packed adventures attract both genders to reading.
Welsh is taught discreetly and incidentally throughout the day at Ysgol Hen Felin. All class signs are bilingual in English, Welsh and Makaton Sign Language. Many work-sheets are bilingual and marking and praise is frequently in Welsh.
If the cohort is suitable than Welsh Language accreditation is delivered to pupils too.
The Welsh subject leader delivers teaching sessions to continue the development of staff Welsh language skills
Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)
PECS is a unique alternative/augmentative communication system developed in the USA in 1985 by Andy Bondy, PhD, and Lori Frost, MS, CCC-SLP. PECS was first implemented with pre-school students diagnosed with autism at the Delaware Autism Program. Since then, PECS has successfully been implemented worldwide with thousands of learners of all ages who have various cognitive, physical and communication challenges.
The PECS teaching protocol is based on B.F. Skinner’s book, Verbal Behaviour, and broad spectrum applied behaviour analysis. Specific prompting and reinforcement strategies that will lead to independent communication are used throughout the protocol. The protocol also includes systematic error correction procedures to promote learning if an error occurs. Verbal prompts are not used, thus building immediate initiation and avoiding prompt dependency.
PECS consists of six phases and begins by teaching an individual to give a single picture of a desired item or action to a "communicative partner" who immediately honours the exchange as a request. The system goes on to teach discrimination of pictures and how to put them together in sentences. In the more advanced phases, individuals are taught to use modifiers, answer questions and comment.
The primary goal of PECS is to teach functional communication. Research has shown that some learners using PECS also develop speech. Others may transition to a speech generating device (SGD). The body of research supporting the effectiveness of PECS as an evidence-based practice is substantial and continues to expand, with more than 150 research articles from all over the world
The Six Phases of PECS
How to Communicate
Individuals learn to exchange single pictures for items or activities they really want.
Distance and Persistence
Still using single pictures, individuals learn to generalise this new skill by using it in different places, with different people and across distances. They are also taught to be more persistent communicators.
Individuals learn to select from two or more pictures to ask for their favourite things. These are placed in a PECS Communication Book—a ringed binder with self-adhesive hook fastener strips where pictures are stored and easily removed for communication.
Individuals learn to construct simple sentences on a detachable Sentence Strip using an "I want" picture followed by a picture of the item being requested.
Attributes & Language Expansion
Individuals learn to expand their sentences by adding adjectives, verbs and prepositions.
Individuals learn to use PECS to answer questions such as "What do you want?"
Individuals are taught to comment in response to questions such as, "What do you see?", "What do you hear?" and "What is it?" They learn to make up sentences starting with "I see", "I hear", "I feel", "It is a", etc.
Bottom of Form
In order to ensure that we have an accurate picture of each child’s needs, we use the following summative assessments:
- Literacy and Numeracy Framework
- B Squared
- Wales Essential Skills Online Toolkit (WEST)
- Salford Reading Test
- Salford Comprehension Test
- Autism Assessments
- Basic Skills Agency Test
Solford Reading and Comprehension Tests
We use a digitally adapted version of the Solford Reading and Comprehension Tests, which allows non-verbal pupils to access the test as well as pupils who use Eye Gaze and who are appropriately assessed to access the test. Thereby offering more opportunities to our pupils.