Reading and Comprehension


Our intent is to give every pupil the ability to read and comprehend the pictures, symbols and the written word. All pupils will be taught to read in line with their stage of cognitive development, from reading and recognising symbols and photographs to aid communication, to reading a wide range of literature fluently for a variety of purposes.


Each curriculum pathway has a clearly sequenced plan for the development of: pupils’ communication; early reading including the teaching of phonics. Alongside these plans pupils have targets that are are tailored to their individual and specific areas of need.

Reading and phonics are taught across all curriculum pathways:

  • by all teaching staff fostering a love of literature through daily storytelling and shared book activities.
  • through highly personalised learning opportunities, with English and reading activities often based on highly favoured and appropriate topics for each individual.
  • with language development in communication-rich environments focusing on the development of pupils’ speaking and listening (for some non-verbal pupils, this is done via alternative methods of communication), throughout the school day.
  • through interactive systematic synthetic phonics, timetabled every day for pupils ready to learn sound-to-symbol correspondence.
  • with pupils encouraged to use and apply their phonic knowledge in independent work, guided-writing sessions and in individual or group reading, where appropriate.
  • with pupils reading books carefully matched to the phonics they know. Hedgewood uses the Bug Club reading scheme, as well as additional decodable schemes such as: Floppy Phonics; Project X; and Oxford Reading Tree.
  • by embedding comprehension in functional and recreational activities, across the curriculum. We focus on the comprehension of specific vocabulary/concepts through the use of objects and visual representation in all lessons.
  • through our sharp focus on the development of pupils’ communication. This is supported through the use of resources such as: Picture Exchange Communication; Social Stories; ‘Now and Next’ boards; daily visual timetables; visual stories; and other visual strategies.
  • with pupils having access to a wide range of texts, resourced from our school library, as well as through our community visits to the local public library.
  • with pupils engaging in daily song and rhyming activities. Through our Creative Arts programme pupils enjoy music lessons that support the development of their listening to sound, and the remembering and matching of sounds to symbols.
  • with pupils supported in their functional reading of recipes, instructions, shopping lists, menus, and key words in the environment, for example: shop signs and specific items in the supermarket. They also focus on following vocational instructions such as the rules of a specific job, and map reading.
  • through a lunchtime Reading Club, which includes drama sessions for pupils to develop their speaking and performance skills.

In addition, Hedgewood holds ‘Reading Cafes’ for parents. These promote and support parents’ engagement in reading with their child at home, by developing their understanding of the school’s systematic synthetic phonics teaching approach, and how to use specific home learning resources to support their child.


Pupils are able to effectively use pictures, symbols and the written word in their everyday lives to access, understand and share information, and enjoy reading a range of materials, including fiction and non-fiction books.



Our Ethos & Values

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