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What is Sounds-Write?

At Albert Pye and Ravensmere we teach phonics using the phonics programme Sounds-Write – a proven Systematic Synthetic Phonics programme validated by the Department for Education. Sounds-Write provides a structured and cumulative approach to teaching reading and spelling. It begins by teaching children to read with what they learn naturally which is the sounds of their own language and then explicitly teaches them the code knowledge (sound-spelling correspondences SSCs) of the writing system.

Sounds-Write is a complete phonics curriculum that teaches the skills, concepts and code knowledge necessary for children to read and spell.

*The skills we teach the children are:
          Segmenting – pulling apart individual sounds in a word.
          Blending – pushing sounds together to make a word.
          Phoneme manipulation – inserting and deleting sounds e.g. taking out one sound and inserting another (e.g. mat – bat).

*The conceptual knowledge we teach the children is:
          1. Letters are symbols (spellings) that represent sounds.
          2. A sound may be spelled with 1, 2, 3 or 4 letters (dog, street, night, dough).
          3. The same sound can be spelled in more than one way (rain, break, stay, gate).
          4. The same spelling can represent different sounds (head, seat, break).

*The code knowledge we teach the children is:
          *Initial code
          *Extended code
          *Polysyllabic words

How is phonics taught at The Albert Pye and Ravensmere?

Sounds-Write sessions are structured and use precise language so all children know what is coming next and what they need to do to be successful within their learning. The sessions include the teaching of new code knowledge alongside revisiting previously taught code which allows all children to rehearse and develop a secure understanding.

We follow the Sounds-Write sequence and progression as this starts from teaching simple code knowledge such as 1:1 sound-spelling correspondences and CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words before building up systematically to more complex code knowledge and word structures. Alongside this, Sounds-Write teaches the skills of reading from the start so children develop a level of mastery before the complexity of the code increases. This supports children to become fluent readers.

What do children learn in Reception?

Children in Reception begin with the Initial Code where they practise all three key skills whilst learning the one-to-one sound-spelling correspondences and securing their understanding of key concept 1. This builds up confidence and phonic knowledge enabling them to read and spell a wide range of words and sentences.

At first, children learn to read and spell simple one-syllable words with a consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) sound structure (for example, 'sat'). By the end of Reception, they can read and write one-syllable words with up to five, or even six, sounds such as 'twist', 'grand' or 'scraps'.

Children also develop their knowledge of key concept 2 as they learn to read and spell words containing some sounds spelled with two letters (the sound /sh/ in ‘fish’ or the sound /th/ in ‘thin’, for example) as well as the three-letter spelling ‘tch’ for the sound /ch/ in ‘catch’. Key concept 3 is introduced towards the end of Reception as the students learn about a small number of sounds that can be spelled in more than one way (for example, the sound /k/ spelled as ‘k’ in ‘kit’, ‘c’ in ‘cat’ and ‘ck’ in ‘pick’).

What do children learn in Year 1 and Year 2?

Once the Initial Code has been mastered, children continue to practise all three key skills whilst learning the Extended Code and developing key concepts 2, 3 and 4. Children in Years 1 and 2 develop their code knowledge through explicit, systematic teaching of the Extended Code units. Alongside this, polysyllabic words are introduced in Year 1.

When is Sounds-Write taught?

Sounds-write is taught every day during a daily, dedicated slot in the timetable. This begins from the beginning of Reception and this continues throughout Key Stage One. Children in Key Stage Two have discrete Sounds-Write sessions as required by the cohort.

During Sounds-Write lessons, the teacher will use their formative assessment to identify any child who is finding the new knowledge challenging and will immediately provide them with appropriate support. Where further support is required, they are supported through ‘keep-up’ and ‘catch-up’ intervention sessions in addition to the whole class phonics sessions.

Decodable Books

Children who are beginning to learn to read use phonically-controlled books that we call ‘decodable readers’. These books are carefully written to focus on the code the children have been taught in phonics lessons so far. At Albert Pye and Ravensmere we use decodable readers that match the scope and sequence of the Sounds-Write programme. Children will take home a book which is 1-2 units behind what they are being taught in school. This allows children to practise their developing skills and knowledge. Once children have developed their skills and code knowledge, they begin to move away from decodable readers and read a wider range of books. We ask parents/carers to support their children by hearing them read aloud. 

We also send library books home for children to share with their families. This helps to promote a love of reading and develop vocabulary.

How can you support at home?

  • We would like children to read their decodable book more than once each week so they practise their skills and develop their fluency and automaticity.
  • Encourage your child to use their finger under the word from left to right (point to each letter when segmenting and running their finger under the whole word when blending).
  • Ask them to 'say the sounds and read the word'.
  • We would like you to encourage your child to use pure sounds when segmenting as mispronouncing sounds will make reading more challenging. Please watch the link below on how to pronounce the sounds accurately.
  • We recommend the free online course ‘Help your child to read and write’. It has been created by Sounds-write to show parents and carers how to support their child’s reading using the Sounds-Write programme.