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Paddock School

Reading at Paddock School

Reading at Paddock is delivered through individualised teaching approaches which ensure that learning is meaningful and functional for all pupils. Our readers range from those who demonstrate early exploratory skills with objects and sounds to those pupils that demonstrate understanding from text at differing levels.

Paddock adopts a very visual approach to learning. The use of songs, photo, pictures and symbols is embedded within all of our learning and can be seen throughout everyday teaching. To help development around understanding the world, we support pupils to identify the meaning behind these representations. This not only enhances their reading development but supports all areas of the curriculum.

The school adopts the following Reading Continuum from which individualised teaching is built:

  • Real Object
  • Object of reference
  • Photo
  • Symbols
  • Word and symbol
  • Word

In line with pupils’ strengths and needs they may demonstrate skills in the above stages in a non-sequential way within differing areas of their development.

Guided by an application of early childhood development, plus an understanding of how pupils’ learning is affected by their strengths and needs, we can offer experiences which encourage secure progression within reading.

The Reading Curriculum

Pupils’ motivations play a large role in how the curriculum at Paddock is implemented; this leads to reading experiences being engaging for pupils through using their interests. Pupils’ motivations support them to demonstrate their fullest potential.

Paddock offers a very creative curriculum which, among other things, gives pupils access to learning through music, story and rhyme. These experiences provide frequent opportunities for pupils to build skills around sounds. These early skills are the beginning of a sequential approach to reading which creates firm stepping stones for the next steps and also continues to enhance and support the later developmental stages of reading.

The visual approach to our teaching leads to reading being an integral part of all areas of our curriculum – My Thinking, My Communication, My Independence and My Well-Being. Paddock’s approach to reading enhances development within our curriculum by teaching pupils to gain understanding from visual and oral representations to support all areas of learning.


The motivational aspects and creativity imbedded into our curriculum results in reading being taught mostly through cross-curricular approaches. Implementation becomes more discrete for more formal learners.

Also embedded within this teaching are individual outcomes linked to pupils’ Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs). These are reviewed and amended in line with the Special Needs Code of Conduct. The multi-professional and parental input gained through this process further ensures that the most effective individual approaches to reading are being implemented.

The school libraries further support skills and motivation around reading to develop. These teaching areas are welcoming spaces which give emphasis to encouraging pupils to enjoy books through exploring their special interests and the different mediums in which the books are written.


Phonics is supported through a flexible curriculum approach which takes into account the learning styles of our pupils. Phonic knowledge is incorporated into routine activities so that pupils can learn through familiar approaches e.g. Attention Autism, Music and Sensory activities. This approach increases confidence and reduces anxiety for pupils which enables them to be at their most able to learn. Teachers regularly review learning to identify whether there is a need to introduce more formal phonics learning.

Paddock structures its phonics teaching around the Letters and Sounds programme.

Phase 1 is supported using a basket of approaches which include –

       The Music Project

     Intensive Interaction

       Tac Pac


     Projects with The Royal          Philharmonic Orchestra

       Music for Autism

   Nature Walks

      Rhymes             and Songs

   Sessions with our music                    teacher

       Attention Autism


    Bag Books

Paddock uses Letters and Sounds Phase 2+ alongside the Phonics Bugs programme. For learners who have demonstrated a readiness for this next stage of learning the emphasis of this teaching is always to ensure learners have the best chance to understand that phonics is not discrete from reading. The needs of our pupils can present a barrier to this understanding due to phonics requiring a transfer of singular knowledge to combining; which blending requires. With this in mind, it is essential to our pupils’ self-esteem that their reading skills and preferences away from this approach are equally encouraged. Whatever decoding approach a pupil favours, the aspects of Letters and Sounds will be used to support this.

These principles are underpinned by the modelling and teaching of good listening skills, combined with frequent opportunities to improve children’s visual and auditory memory and their ability to sequence. These skills are developed through the teaching of activities to promote phonological and phonemic awareness in young children before they embark upon a systematic phonics programme.

Phonics at Paddock Secondary

Within this vocational curriculum the value of the Letters and Sounds programme is still very much identified. All pupils at Paddock Secondary continue their journey in developing a motivation for music, rhyme, story and print. Phase One of Letters and Sounds is embedded within everyday teaching and continues to support pupils to develop and reinforce a solid foundation for reading.

By the time some pupils reach secondary age they have developed sight reading skills that enable them to decode. These skills sometimes surpass those that are equal to the Letters and Sounds Phase that they are assessed to be on. The appreciation of these skills is demonstrated through individualised teaching approaches which encourages further development of phonics knowledge if this promotes the learner as a valued reader and will provide them with enhanced ways to decode words.

Banded Reading Scheme

For learners ready for more directed formal reading opportunities Paddock offers a mixed scheme reading band collection. The different types of schemes available allow pupils to show a preference to which their main scheme may be. 

This reading is always supplemented by the other reading opportunities within our curriculum. Pupils may show a preference to learn with different resources than the reading band scheme can offer. With this in mind the skills intended to be learnt within each band can be transferred to more personalised approaches. 

Whichever approach pupils choose to take, teachers are guided to ensure that reading for meaning and enjoyment is always the desired outcome 


The needs of the pupils at Paddock make it essential that all those supporting them pay great regard to understanding the difference between being able to read words and actually understanding the meaning behind them. 

The visual environment that Paddock offers provides opportunities throughout the day to gain understanding from print. During more discrete reading experiences, the value around understanding is carried over. In balance with this, pupils’ ability to read words without meaning is also valued as a tool to support confidence as a reader to develop.


Next steps are identified using our toolbox of assessment which is greatly supported by staff’s in-depth knowledge of each pupil. Targets are set with high expectations alongside the pupils’ strengths and needs, as identified in their EHCPs. The entirety of this toolbox consists of –

  • The EHCP and IEP process
  • Letters and Sounds
  • Evidence for Learning
  • Paddock specific Reading Tracker

Through using these tools, reading progression routes are determined by their class teacher.