At the Milestone School we consider enjoying and experiencing books and reading to be one of life’s most enriching skills. We aim to create a stimulating environment where children are encouraged to engage with and experience books and all forms of written material. The reading and literacy opportunities that we provide reflect the unique learning needs of our pupils which range from individualised pathways to Government approved formal phonics schemes.

We provide a range of experiences that include multi-sensory approaches and encourage practical application of reading to support the development of both communication and life skills. Every pupil participates in a wide range of language activities, auditory development, phonics and regular story-telling sessions that are fun-filled opportunities to develop speaking and listening skills, and where the emphasis is on children’s active participation.

At the Milestone School we follow a whole-school phonics and reading readiness pathway which is based on robust assessment and on choosing the right pathway and tools for each individual pupil. It is essential that pupils have a firm foundation of early phonics skills at whatever point they enter our school family. This includes the teaching of sound discrimination – environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body percussion, rhythm and rhyme and voice sounds.

Once these skills are embedded, children progress to the next stage where we continue to teach phonics and also introduce one of a choice of specific reading schemes, including ‘Read, Write, Inc’, ‘Dancing Bears’ and ‘Fresh Start’.

We acknowledge that some of our children may require greater opportunities to robustly acquire early language skills and may continue to generalise these skills throughout their school life. Some of our pupils may learn to read using a whole word approach to reading which places emphasis on developing social sight and functional vocabulary. Pupils at the Milestone School do not undertake statutory testing, including the phonics screening check at the end of Year 1. As pupils progress through to the Senior Department, they use the phonics and reading skills that they have acquired to gain national accreditation in preparation for adult life.