Sounds Write program helps boost literacy

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
Mia Thompson 11, John Walker, Ella Scott 11, Maureen McDaniel and Tommo Kane 11.
Camera IconMia Thompson 11, John Walker, Ella Scott 11, Maureen McDaniel and Tommo Kane 11. Credit: Jackson Lavell-Lee/Jackson Lavell-Lee

A new literacy program for primary school students is being trialled in the South West, with Vasse Primary School using the Sounds Write program as intervention support in Years 4 and 5.

In the UK, where the program was developed, students with significant reading and writing difficulties are identified by screening checks in Years 1 and 2 after starting to identify letter sounds in pre-primary.

Schools using the Sounds Write program in the UK are seeing a 90 er cent competency rate in literacy before Year 2.

Sounds Write founder John Walker said the English language was complex for young students to grasp, but not when rooted in its 44 sounds.

Get in front of tomorrow's news for FREE

Journalism for the curious Australian across politics, business, culture and opinion.


“Recognition memory is one thing and retrieval memory another,” he said. “Forgetting isn’t taken into account in traditional teaching, we’re focusing on long-term memory,” he said.

“Sounds Write is teaching kids to decode words in sound rather than letter names.” Wrapped in Reading specialist literacy trainer Maureen McDaniell said the Sounds Write teacher training program was a thorough four-day course which helped teachers develop literacy levels for their whole class, not just students with difficulties.

“Teachers who are trained in the program are seeing amazing progress in their students,” she said.

Vasse Primary School teacher Anne Smart said she had seen “fantastic” results in her intervention group and some students had been reintroduced to mainstream learning.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails