Reading At Oak Grove College

A fundamental element of our provision is to support our students in learning to read and decode the written word around them.

Reading for Learning

At Oak Grove College, we have several approaches to developing reading, which guarantees it is accessible for all our students. These approaches include:

  • Phonics for SEN – a systematic, synthetic, linguistic phonics programme which provides the learner with the tools for decoding words
  • PECS – Picture and word exchange system which links images to a written word
  • Visual timetables – use of symbols to reinforce routine and key events
  • Symbolised text – Widgit symbols to reinforce the meaning of words
  • Key Vocabulary – on display or on a word mat for tier 3 vocabulary

We enable students to develop their:

  • Engagement in reading by
    • reading and analysing quality fiction and non-fiction texts;
    • participating in stories;
    • joining in with repeated refrains, story language, actions and rhymes;
    • participating in enrichment activities including Literacy themed days and events, story teller visits, trips to the local libraries and theatres and travelling theatre productions
  • Word reading by
    • associating words with pictures, symbols or objects;
    • developing their phonetic awareness (Phonics for SEN programme) which will enable them to decode unfamiliar words;
    • developing their ability to dynamically blend sounds within a word;
    • promoting and displaying key vocabulary which supports sight reading across the college.
  • Comprehension by
    • answering simple questions;
    • developing their early inference through identifying pictures/ images and props related to a story;
    • using skim and scan skills to select information to answer a question, define new words and clarify misconceptions;
    • sequencing and retelling skills in increasingly complex stories;
    • predicting what might happen in a story.

Reading for Pleasure

At Oak Grove College, we strive to promote a student’s love of reading by providing a broad range of diverse “mirror” and “window” texts. “Mirror” texts are ones which allow students to see themselves within it. “Window” texts are ones which provide an insight into someone else’s world.

We provide spaces where students can immerse themselves with a piece of literature including central area book nooks and a dedicated library (from September 2024). In our library, we have an extensive range of fiction and non-fiction including graphic novels, magazines, comics, audio books and YoTo story players.

Throughout the year, we offer students a series of competitions and challenges which aim to incentivise them to further increase the amount of time they spend on independent reading. These can be found on the OGC Literacy Road Map which is a calendar of national and international days of literacy.


If you wish to support in the continual updating of quality resources in the library, please browse our Amazon wish list:

Phonics at Oak Grove College

We believe every student should be immersed in a phonic rich environment, where sounds are highlighted and referenced. However, we recognise that not all students will benefit from direct phonics learning and those individuals learn through developing their sight-reading skills of key and functional words. 

Phonics for SEN – Phonics Programme

The phonics programme we use at Oak Grove College is “Phonics for Special Educational Needs”.

“Phonics for SEN is a complete, systematic synthetic and linguistic phonics programme published in seven books. 

​ Phonics for SEN enables pupils with a range of special educational needs to find reading and spelling success and is suitable for those with specific learning difficulties, autism, moderate and severe learning difficulties, developmental language disorder, communication needs and complex needs, including pre- and nonverbal pupils and those with significant physical disability. 

 Working through the programme, the pupil: 

  • learns about and understands the concepts that underpin how the written English is constructed, 
  • learns, practices and masters the skills they need to work with sounds and letters,  
  • develops the knowledge they need to learn, build up and retain to be able to read and spell well.” 

Phonics for Pupils with Special Educational Needs 

Subject-Based Learners 

Students in Marvel, Avatar and Da Vinci and students in Koa who access Subject Based Learning in English, will follow the “Phonics for SEN program”. 

Currently, all Key Stage 3 classes will have an element of phonics to each of their lessons. This may be direct teaching of a sound spelling, consolidation of a sound or application of phonics through reading a phonic decodable text. The phonic decodable texts are levelled at the same levels as our phonic program. This ensures students can read quality texts appropriate to their level. 

Key Stage 4 classes will have phonics where appropriate for their needs. 

Phonics Assessment 

Students’ phonic ability is assessed and recorded using “Phonics Tracker”. Students in Year 7 are baselined using this online system and then a phonics assessment is completed termly throughout Key Stage 3. 

Koa, Animus and 6th Form 

Students in Koa, Animus and 6th Form will undertake a range of pre-phonics and phonic activities based around their needs and interests. 

“Phonics for SEN” is being implemented to provide a framework and resources for staff working with students who are ready to access phonics teaching. 

Phonics is referred to throughout the day in a variety of lessons and activities. However, the direct teaching of phonics is primarily done during sensory story sessions and literacy half hour slots (6th form). This enables teachers to focus on students’ individual needs. 

Phonics Tracker is used to identify an individual’s needs for students who are accessing phonics. 

Reading Intervention 

At Oak Grove College we use a reading intervention program called “That Reading Thing”.  

Like “Phonics for SEN”, it is a linguistic program which is age appropriate. It has been chosen due to it sharing the same fundamentals as our phonic program and because there is significant evidence of its success with students who have similar needs to our subject based learners. 

Anne Douglas has been accredited to run the program and focuses on up to 10 students every cycle of intervention. At the beginning and end of the 10-week program, students undertake a Salford Reading test and phonics assessments to ascertain levels of progress. 

That Reading Thing

Click on the links below to access videos to support your young person with phonics and reading at home
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