At Yew Tree Farm School we believe reading and sharing stories is a fundamental part of childhood which all our students deserve to access.
Reading and storytelling can improve self-esteem and confidence in addition to providing relaxation which can help improve sleep patterns, provide reassurance, comfort, and fun.
Reading is a key part of learning which feeds children’s imagination, fuels their desire to learn and can instil a lifetime love of reading, setting foundations for later success. Sharing books together helps build independence, expands vocabulary, develops social skills and gives us the opportunity to show our children they matter by giving them our full attention.
Reading at the farm is planned into sessions in many different ways- daily use of the feed board and checklists, student made animal information booklets, our library, sharing books with the animals- enabling children to read for a purpose as well as reading for enjoyment. A variety of different literature is available for students throughout the day including picture and chapter books, joke books, non-fiction books, comics, cookery books. There are opportunities for reading around the farm through use of animal signs, labels and information sheets empowering the children to work more independently at times.
During sessions children are invited to build reading dens or camps around the farm and woodland enabling children to make links between what they are reading and the world around them. At the farm children can get worn out from doing physical farm jobs and then they may need some down time to regain their energy. Building dens allows children ownership over their space and comfort, and providing books can be a good way to transition to or inspire the next activity.
One of the key focuses on the farm is sharing reading with the animals- telling them stories, using the animals to tell stories, putting on shows for them and reading them books. We have a farm dog and goats which are natural therapy animals, and their presence is proven to have a calming impact on children and adults. Reading to animals promotes emotional connection and comfort fostering empathy and compassion amongst our young people.
Our library has opportunities for reading as well as listening to audio books. There are puppets to tell stories and to aid the students self-expression, providing the children in our care with a safe, warm and inviting environment in which to share and create. We have a variety of fun and interactive phonics games available which the children are welcome to chose as an aid to building early phonics knowledge. Key words are in place around the farm, canopy, and library to help aid and strengthen writing ability.
We follow the Read Write Inc phonics scheme to help our students with their reading. We offer reading interventions twice each day, for every student, allowing for progress to be made quickly and effectively.
When a student starts at Yew Tree Farm School we assess their reading ability and ascertain any gaps in their phonics knowledge. This allows us to create a bespoke scheme for each learner and fast track them on their early reading journey.
We make use of the Read Write Inc reading scheme books to track progress and continually challenge students; but also have access to a broad library of high quality texts to ensure every student can find a book that interests them.