A Multi-Sensory Approach


At St Michael’s, we teach phonics using a linguistic phonics programme called Sounds-Write. Sounds-Write is a very highly structured, multi-sensory approach to teaching children to read and spell. Its structure and simplicity makes it a programme accessible to all learners and helps them to make excellent progress with their reading and spelling.

The four key concepts children are taught are:

1. Letters are symbols that represent sounds

2. Sounds can be spelt using 1, 2, 3 or 4 letters

3. The same sound can be spelt in different ways

4. The same spelling can represent different sounds

The three key skills children need to master are:

1. Blending

2. Segmenting

3. Phoneme manipulation

Building Confidence

Key Concepts

Children in Reception begin with the initial code where they practise all three key skills whilst learning the 1:1 sound-spelling correspondences and securing their understanding of key concept 1.

This builds up confidence and phonic knowledge in a truly reversible system, enabling them to decode and encode a wide range of words and sentences. At first, children learn to read and write simple one syllable words with a CVC structure.

Complexity of word structure systematically builds up so that children apply their code knowledge to monosyllabic words with up to six sounds.


Lifelong Learning

Sounds-Write Across the School

Once the initial code has been mastered, children continue to practise all three key skills whilst learning the extended code which explores key concepts 2, 3 and 4. Learning of the extended code is a lifelong process – we all continue to develop our understanding of this code whenever we encounter new words. Whilst learning the extended code, children read and write monosyllabic and polysyllabic words at an age-appropriate level.

Children in Foundation Stage and KS1 have a 30 minute phonics lesson every day, in addition to their reading and writing lessons.

We encourage all of our parents to access the free Sounds-Write online course for parents: Help your child to read and write so that they are well-informed about how best to support their children with their reading.


Building Confidence

Reading Fluency

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. Decodable readers allow the children to practise their developing skills and they will be sent home to give even more opportunities for practice. Parents/carers are asked to support their children by hearing them read aloud daily. 

Children have the opportunity to take a wider range of books home from our school library, these may be books the children can read themselves or books they can share with their parents. This helps to promote a culture of reading and develops your child’s vocabulary.

How can I help support my child at home?

If your child needs some help when they are reading you can:

  • Encourage them to use their finger under the word from left to right.
  • Ask them to 'say the sounds and read the word'.
  • Tell them to 'listen' for the words as they say the sounds.
  • If they need more help, tell them the sounds in the word and ask them to listen and blend them to say the whole word.

It is important to say the sounds very precisely. You can watch and listen to Alex saying the sounds in this short video (click here).


Page Downloads Date  
Phonics subject overview 19th Jun 2023 Download
Sounds Write timeline diagram 04th Jun 2024 Download