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Applebee Wood Community Specialist School

Respect, Belonging, Trust, Resilience, Aspiration

Reading and Phonics

What Reading Looks Like at Applebee Wood Community Specialist School 


At Applebee Wood we recognise that reading is a key life-skill and teaching at Applebee Wood is driven by this. In addition to teaching children the skills to become independent and fluent readers, we aim to develop a true love of reading in children.  This starts from EYFS where phonics is taught daily and continues throughout the school. We recognise that Phonics does not work for all children and reading is taught through signs, symbols and high frequency words. Books at Applebee Wood are adapted to each child's needs whether it is using PEC's/audio or large print.  

At Applebee Wood, the teaching of phonics and spelling has been designed to help children to become fluent, confident readers and writers as soon as possible. 

 Comprehension skills (understanding) are also introduced from the start.  To start with it a simply asking them questions about what they have just read to make sure they understand.  During their English lessons and interventions comprehension is taught through a variety of high-quality fiction and non-fiction texts selected to engage and inspire. These texts include a range of genres, classic and contemporary authors, traditional stories from a range of cultures, address important ideas and themes and challenge their understanding.

In order for children to build stamina and develop pace when reading, In Key stage 1 & 2 every child reads daily to an adult.  In KS3/4 if this is still needed then the child will still read daily otherwise it is at least twice a week to an adult.  This is also encouraged by reading at home.  

See below how reading looks for our different learners at Applebee Wood Community Specialist School. 

Phonic and Reading Scheme


Phonics is taught following the DfE-approved systematic synthetic phonics programme Twinkl Phonics.


The school uses a wide range of age-appropriate reading materials these include the published schemes: Oxford Reading Tree,  Dandelion Readers, Rhino Readers, Collins Big Cat Phonics,  Words and Pictures Fun with Phonics, My First Phonics, Project X, Treetops, Rapid Phonics, Nelson Get Ready, Literacy Plus, Red Rockets.


(See English for more information)

Dyslexia Friendly School 


Yes I can








As a school all children are encouraged to read. Some children struggle from the start or even join our school with this as a need.

Teachers or our speech and language therapist will pick up that the children are struggling. We cannot diagnose dyslexia but we can test children on visual stress. The children might mention that:

· Letters and numbers blur.

· The words/letters move up and down or merge into each other.

· Paper is too bright.

· Paper hurts their eyes.

· Words are too small.

When this happens the teacher will fill out a “Visual test checklist” If the child is in the amber/red on their scores we will then do a “Visual stress assessment”

Once this is done, we then will issue the child with any equipment they need to help assist them in their learning. This could be:

· Coloured overlays

· Coloured exercise books

· Reading rulers

· Spell checkers

· Reading pens

· Magnifiers

After they have got their extra equipment, we will put into place strategies to help them engage and learn. This could be as simple as:

· Using different coloured pens.

· Turning off lights to take the shine off the boards.

· Extra input for reading and phonics.

· Precision teaching

· Using larger prints.

· Use of “Aurally Coded English” Dictionary.

· Word Mats

· Extra time

· IDL/IXL computer programme

We then check up with each child/teacher after an agreed time to make sure that the strategies and equipment are working for them.