Friday, 8 March 2013

Supporting SEN children’s reading

I love giving courses and inset on supporting SEN children’s reading and it’s been a treat recently to run training on this at Heath Books and Mayflower High School. There were excellent discussions both times about the barriers to reading and ways to overcome them. These factors make a big difference:

  • enthusing about reading
  • reading role models
  • making reading interesting, relevant and attractive
  • valuing the reading SEN children are doing
  • reading aloud
  • a focus on literacy across the whole curriculum
  • authentic contexts for reading and authentic reading materials (recipes, newspapers, manuals, catalogues etc)
  • assistive technologies
  • lots of support for comprehension as well as decoding
  • multi-sensory approaches
  • paired reading
  • support for independent learning and reading
  • libraries that are well-stocked with appropriate reading materials and well laid out and guided
  • guidance and support to meet individual interests and needs
  • support for parents and carers
  • easily accessible online and printed reading materials
  • text that is simple to read without being patronising
  • books with clear layout and good illustrations
  • plenty of non-fiction on subjects of individual interest
  • HILO books (high interest level; low reading age)
  • fiction books with gripping starts, short chapters and plots and characters readers can identify with

My post on special needs and libraries (and HILO books) has more details on some of these issues. Incidentally, the Heath Books course was heavily over-subscribed, so it’s being repeated on 18 June.

The photo is of a family friend with special needs. Once he and I found books that grabbed him he was absorbed for a very long time.