St Paul's C of E Primary School

St Pauls Church of England Gloucester



We have been using the Sounds-Write approach to teaching phonics since September 2014.  Sounds-Write is a quality first phonics programme acknowledged by the DfE as meeting all its criteria for an effective phonics teaching programme. It is an exciting and highly successful approach to the teaching of reading, spelling and writing.


Sounds-Write is effective in teaching pupils to read, spell and write because it starts from what all children know from a very early age – the sounds of the English language. From there, children are taught in small steps how each of the 44 or so sounds in the English language can be spelt.

Children begin by learning simple alphabet code and then progress through to more complex coding.

The programme teaches the following concepts:

  • that letters are spellings of sounds: visual language is a representation of spoken language
  • that a spelling can contain one, two, three, or four letters - examples are: s a t,       f i sh, n igh t and w eigh t
  • that there is more than one way of spelling most sounds: the sound 'ae', spelt as <a-e> in 'name', can be represented as <a> in 'table', <ai> in 'rain', <eigh> in 'eight', <ay> in 'play', and so on
  • that many spellings can represent more than one sound: <ea> can be the sound 'e' in 'head', 'a-e' in 'break', or 'ee' in 'seat'


Reading and spelling also requires expertise in the skills necessary to make use of the alphabet code and pupils need to be able to:

  • segment, or separate sounds in words
  • blend, or push sounds together to form words
  • manipulate sounds: take sounds out and put sounds into words


Sounds-Write provides opportunities for practising these skills on an everyday basis until pupils achieve the automaticity required for fluent reading and spelling. To watch a video of how Sounds-Write works, click here.