Why Sounds-Write?

Annesley’s teaching team sought an alternative, evidence-based phonics program in 2022 as part of our ongoing commitment to attaining excellence in literacy. Through research, we identified Sounds-Write as a program with which we could systematically teach the skills, concepts and code knowledge of the English language so all Annesley students are equipped to become confident and proficient in reading, writing and spelling.

Originating and widely implemented in the UK for over twenty years, Sounds-Write is used in Australian schools in the Eastern States and in Western Australia. The Department for Education in Western Australia recently endorsed Sounds-Write as a high-quality phonics program.

What is Sounds-Write?
Sounds-Write is a structured program which builds on the pre-reading skills of oral language and phonological awareness needed for reading success. Reading, writing and spelling are part of every lesson. Our Reception to Year 3 teachers deliver Sounds-Write instruction with consistent, frequent, and explicit lessons every week, focusing on teaching the skills of segmenting, blending, and manipulating phonemes (sounds).

Through sustained and ongoing engagement with the Sounds-Write program, students learn the full code, 175+ of the most common spellings of the 44 sounds in the English language. They build conceptual understanding that sounds are represented by 1,2,3 or 4 letters, a sound can be represented in many ways and one spelling can represent different sounds.

A longitudinal study has been undertaken to evaluate the efficacy of the Sounds-Write program. Data was collected on student’s achievement in spelling between 2005 and 2009 in the UK. Spelling a word requires synthesis of their phonics knowledge.

Within the 1600 students assessed in the study showed that by the end of Year 2, students participating in Sounds-Write instruction at school were on average 12 months ahead in their spelling age than their chronological age. (Susan Case, Dave Philpot and John Walker, 2010)

Sounds-Write Boost Program
Annesley’s Personalised Learning Team have developed and documented a Sounds-Write “Boost” intervention program, providing students with the opportunity to acquire these foundational skills in small-group, intensive workshop settings.

Measuring Impact
We track assessment data to measure the impact of our teaching and learning at Annesley. Twelve months into our implementation of Sounds-Write, our data already shows that less students are needing intervention support.

‘I’m a strong advocate of the Sounds-Write phonics program which is based on the best available scientific evidence of reading. I congratulate Annesley for implementing this phonics program with consistent and explicit teaching of the relationship between speech sounds and spelling patterns. Since its inception at Annesley, I’ve seen noticeable progress among children who struggle with literacy.’
Michele Falconer, Speech Pathologist

Our Coordinator of Literacy, Steph Bates is ensuring the integrity of the program as we continue to implement Sounds-Write at Annesley in 2024.

*Case, S, Philpot, D, and Walker, J, (2010) A longitudinal study of literacy development using Sounds-Write