Communication and Literacy

Speaking, listening, reading and writing are all communication skills. Communication is a priority at the Redway School and our aim is always to help children become effective communicators.


Children may communicate by speaking, signing, using symbols, photographs or voice output communication aids.  Some children are not yet ready to use these methods of communication and may communicate through gestures, facial expression or body language.

The English department works in close partnership with the Speech and Language Therapy department to help children to develop effective communication.  Each child is assessed according to The Redway School Communication Assessment and an individual learning plan is developed.    This identifies the objectives, activities and any additional support which may be required.

Communication is always taught in a social setting, where children are motivated to interact with others.  Learning through play is an important part of learning to communicate.

For those children who are still learning the fundamentals of communication, we offer support through Intensive Interaction. The approach aims to develop the fundamentals of communication.  These basic skills are the foundations for learning language, developing social skills and achievement in all school activities.

Our total communication approach means we offer a range of communication methods.  This includes signing (Signalong and BSL) and visual support materials, ranging from simple photographs to symbols and words. Some children find the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) very helpful.  We also have a selection of electronic voice output communication aids such as iPad programmes, Dynavox and Eye Gaze technology. Children are able to discover their most effective means of communicating, which may mean using several different methods.


Some of our most creative lessons are those where children are introduced to the world of literature.  We take full advantage of the wonderful range of stories and poems by well-known children’s authors as well as introducing stories from around the world.

Literature is presented to the children in a variety of ways, including sensory stories, where the elements of the story are turned into a sequence of sensory experiences, drama stories, where the children are able to take part in the events of the story and stories which are read aloud.  Our creative PE team have even developed active stories for the swimming pool and gym.

Teachers aim to give children access to a wider range of literature through creative and imaginative teaching.  Children can access Shakespeare, classical poems and Homer’s Odyssey using interactive story telling techniques.


Learning to communicate through words is the first step in learning to read and write, but when children are ready to make the huge step into literacy, we can offer a range of specialist teaching programmes. 

These are tailored to meet individual needs, for example, some children learn to read through phonics using the “Letter and Sounds” programme.  Other children may need a whole word approach.  Programmes used in school include the Down’s Syndrome Association materials “Special Words”, “Special Stories” and the Reading and Language Intervention Scheme.  Technological support for literacy includes “Clicker”, “Choose it Maker” and iPad apps.  


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