St Mary's Church of England (Voluntary Controlled) Infant School

St Mary's C of E Infant School



a multisensory, mastery approach


At St Mary’s, we teach phonics using a linguistic phonics programme called Sounds-Write. Sounds-Write is a very highly structured, multi-sensory, incremental and code-oriented, instructional approach to teaching children to read and spell. Sounds-Write focuses on fluency and automaticity whilst allowing for lots of retrieval practice through it's spiral based approach. It is implemented in the classroom and provides very fast and effective teaching for children at all levels. 


Children at St Mary's will be sure to tell you how much they enjoy their Sounds-Write lessons. Its structure and simplicity makes it a programme accessible to all learners and helps them to make excellent progress with their reading and spelling. Sounds-Write promotes the use of multisensory engagement with the materials appropriate to the level and abilities of the children being taught. Visual, auditory and kinaesthetic activities are, at all times, combined simultaneously to promote learning. In addition to being multisensory, the Sounds-Write programme has pace and utilises an array of stimulating lessons and resources. It also enables teachers to differentiate the challenges placed before the learner in order to meet their individual needs.  

The three key skills children need to master are:


Once the initial code has been mastered, children continue to practice 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 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 so that they are well-informed about how best to support their children with their reading. 

Phonics Screening Check

The statutory Year 1 Phonics Screening Check is a list of 40 words which children will read one-to-one with their class teacher. 

It will assess phonics skills and knowledge learned through Reception and Year 1.

It will check that your child can:


  • Sound out and blend graphemes in order to read simple words e.g. n-igh-t
  • Read phonically decodable one-syllable and two-syllable words, e.g. cat, sand, windmill.
  • Read a selection of nonsense words which are referred to as ‘pseudo words’.