Literacy has long been a focus for professional activity and learning at our school. We have worked tirelessly to ensure all staff are provided with up to date practical knowledge and resources. We have an agreed instructional model that incorporates everything we believe is important when it comes to teaching our young learners.

All classrooms follow the same literacy structure which links all components of the ‘Big 6’ (oral language, phonological knowledge, phonics instruction, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension) in an authentic and genuine way. Coupled with strategic teaching using the structured literacy approach (Science of Reading Knowledge), our students are learning information in the way that our brain is able to store and retrieve it. We also acknowledge and ensure our planning recognises the important link between oral language, reading and writing and we ensure that our lessons interlink all 3 components in our literacy block and into all our learning areas. After all we speak, read and write in every subject area.

Reading at NDPS


Sounds Write is a highly structured, systematic synthetic phonics program. The evidence-based linguistic program is recommended by AUSPELD.

Sounds Write teaches students how the alphabetic code works. Fundamentally, it teaches students the key skills required to be effective readers and spellers.

What we need to understand about learning to read is that it is not one skill; it is a complex of skills, conceptual knowledge and code knowledge. Children are biologically primed to learn the language that they speak but are not primed to learn the writing system of that language. We need to teach children the writing system explicitly and systematically.

Sounds Write starts with the skill that children learn naturally: the sounds of their own language.

Sounds Write then teaches that letters or combinations of letters are the ways in which we represent those sounds when we write.

The 3 skills Sounds Write teaches are:

  1. Segmenting
  2. Blending
  3. Phoneme Manipulation

These skills need to be perfected and practised to become a fluent reader.


Segmenting individual sounds in speech is vital for both reading and spelling. To read, the reader must segment the sound-spelling correspondences in a word before blending them to make a recognisable word. When writing, a student also needs to split the word into its component sounds. E.g. /c/…./a/…/t/… and to represent each sound as a letter.


The skill of blending involves pushing sounds together to form meaningful words. For example /b/ /oa/ /t/ = ‘boat.’

Phoneme Manipulation

The skill of manipulating individual sounds within words enables one sound to be replaced by another. For instance, take the word ‘bat,’ and replace the sound /a/ with the sound /i/ so it becomes ‘bit.’ This skill is essential when the reader is problem solving when decoding. For instance, the letter <o> represents 4 completely different sounds in the words ‘go,’ ‘pot,’ ‘mother,’ and ‘to,’ When reading unfamiliar words, a child needs to decode by trying different letters or spellings and they must be prepared to test out alternatives. Therefore, the reader needs to be able to manipulate sounds instantly. This is a skill proficient readers are able to carry out automatically, and it occurs without having to think about it.

SoundsWrite in action in one of our Junior classrooms

Braydon during SoundsWrite instruction

To learn more about the structured synthetic phonics instruction we follow at NDPS, see your child’s teacher (we hold Parent workshops) or look online at:

Writing at NDPS

2020 saw a new era for our writing practice at NDPS, when we enacted the following programs. We begin our writing journey (in Foundation and Year 1) with the Talk 4 Writing process of Imitation, Innovation and Invention. Students learn to orally recite and act out popular stories through listening and reading. The teacher maps out the story using pictures to aid student’s memory. Students are then supported to internalise the language patterns, text features, and structure to create their own version on a different topic. Over time, the students move towards independent writing as they create texts of their choosing.

Once students develop their love of writing through the Talk 4 Writing process, we then move to teaching the students using the Writing Revolution which is an explicit set of evidence based strategies for teaching writing. It focusses on the Hochman method for teaching writing. It builds from sentences to compositions and are embedded in curriculum across all content areas and grade levels. The method enables students to master the skills that are essential if they are to become competent writers, which in turn assists with reading and communication and therefore elevates their thinking and understanding of our world.

In 2024 we are working to increase the time we spend on writing with a professional learning focus on this topic. See our AIP for further details.