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Reading and Communication

Reading and Communication:



At the Beacon College we recognise the importance of reading and we endeavour to ensure that all students have the opportunity to learn to read to the best of their ability. We understand the significance of a culturally rich reading curriculum which broadens the student’s experiences and exposure to life.


We recognise that:

  • Reading is central to enabling our students to access learning across the curriculum.
  • Reading enables our students to have more choice of future educational or employment destinations and ensures the continuity of life-long learning.
  • Reading allows our students to become more independent by enabling them to read in a functional context.
  • Reading promotes personal wellbeing and supports our students to lead happy and healthy lives.


At the Beacon College we utilise, and have embedded, a combination of approaches to maximise our student’s progress in learning to read.

We use:

  • A balanced approach to early reading promoting a variety of activities to engage students.
  • A systematic phonics learning programme which is rigorously implemented and assessed.
  • Explicit teaching of reading comprehension strategies.
  • Explicit teaching of vocabulary.
  • Active promotion of reading for pleasure.


All students participate in stand-alone, personalised Reading and Communication sessions each morning within their tutor group. Students focus on their personalised Communication and/or Reading skills targets with these sessions.


Reading is planned as a result of assessments in phonics, high frequency words (Action Word programme) and the PM Benchmarking assessment, in addition to using the Reading Progression map.




Students at Barrs Court are taught synthetic phonics through the Read Write Inc. Fresh Start Phonics programme.


Read Write Inc. Fresh Start is used in Reading and Communication sessions alongside other strategies to promote the development of reading.


During Fresh Start lessons students are taught the English alphabetic code (the 150+ graphemes that represent the 44 speech sounds) in speed sounds sessions. The programme uses simple mnemonics to help students to read and write the letter-sound correspondences.


At the Beacon College we recognise that synthetic phonics still plays an important role in supporting students to make progress in their reading.

We supplement the Read Write Inc Fresh Start programme with multi-sensory activities personalised to meet the needs of our students.