Sound Waves Spelling

Systematic word study for your whole school

Sound Waves is a whole-school program developed by Australian teachers for use in Australian classrooms.

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Four areas of teaching

Phonemic awareness, synthetic phonics, morphology and etymology

Informed by research on the best practices for teaching spelling, the program incorporates four key areas of teaching:

  • Phonemic awareness: the ability to work with phonemes.
  • Synthetic phonics: phonics instruction that involves teaching phoneme–grapheme relationships.
  • Morphology: knowledge of the meaningful parts of words: prefixes, suffixes, and Greek and Latin roots.
  • Etymology: understanding of word origins and history.

A whole-school approach

Written specifically for Australian classrooms

Sound Waves follows a logical and thorough scope and sequence.

The program is organised around the 43 phonemes (sounds) of Australian English and the graphemes (a letter or letter combination) used to represent them in written language.

Instruction builds from Foundation to Year 6, starting with simple phoneme–grapheme relationships before exploring more complex relationships, morphology and etymology.

For more information read our planning documents:

Scope and Sequence F–6
Australian Curriculum Match F–6
NSW Syllabus Match Early Stage 1
NSW Syllabus Match Stage 1
NSW Syllabus Match Stage 2
NSW Syllabus Match Stage 3

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Teaching Sound Waves Spelling

Explicit teaching and targeted practice

Success starts with effective instruction

With Sound Waves, you can deliver explicit teaching and targeted practice in a way that is comprehensive and cohesive.

The Sound Waves Online Teaching Resources include everything you need to explicitly teach phoneme–grapheme relationships, and spelling and vocabulary concepts.

This teaching is paired with targeted practice that allows students to apply their knowledge and skills in student book activities that mirror what has been taught in lessons.

Decodable Readers to cultivate early reading success

Focus phoneme–grapheme relationships in context

Following the same systematic teaching sequence used in Sound Waves, the Sound Waves Decodable Readers allow students to practise reading words containing the focus phoneme–grapheme relationship in context. Featuring captivating stories, charming illustrations and three levels of difficulty: support, core and extended – these Decodable Readers truly stand out from the crowd.

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From planning to assessment – and everything in between

Sound Waves provides everything you need to deliver effective spelling lessons from Foundation to Year 6.

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Each year level is divided into weekly units of work*.

Units are based on one or two of the 43 phonemes of Australian English. In these units students study:

  • the focus phoneme/s and the common graphemes used to represent them
  • Focus Words that contain the focus phoneme and link to Focus Concepts
  • Focus Concepts that cover a range of spelling and vocabulary concepts.

* Foundation differs to reflect the specialised nature of instruction required in the first year of schooling.

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All lessons follow the gradual release of responsibility framework that begins with explicit teaching and ends with independent student practice.

The Sound Waves Online Teaching Resources include comprehensive lesson guides and projectable slideshows (featuring videos and interactive tools) for every lesson. With everything you need at your fingertips, you can deliver systematic, explicit and engaging lessons with ease.

Take a closer look

To explore the online teaching resources, sign up for a free trial or download our online guide.

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Sound Waves provides whole-class, small-group and independent activities to suit the diverse learning needs within classrooms.

Keep your spelling superstars engaged using the challenges and extension words, while you provide extra support for students requiring remediation.

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Each year level includes dedicated assessment that allows you to monitor your students’ progress.

Foundation reading and spelling assessments: There are four assessments in the Foundation program that are used to evaluate students’ ability to read and spell words with the sounds and graphemes taught. Term 1 includes a Phonemic Awareness Assessment and Terms 2–4 each include a Single Word Reading Assessment (Regular Words), Single Word Reading Assessment (Special Words) and Spelling Assessment.

Content Reviews: Years 1–6 include eight Content Reviews in each year level. These mid and end-of-term tests assess students’ understanding of phoneme–grapheme relationships and previously taught concepts. The reviews include single-word and sentence dictation, and Focus Concept activities. 


Spelling Diagnostic Test: This assessment is used in Years 1–6 and allows you to diagnose strengths and weaknesses for specific spelling concepts. It includes remediation activities to use where required.

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Teacher support

Workshops, articles, videos and more

We believe in supporting teachers.

So, register for a free workshop delivered by one of our experts, browse our professional learning articles and videos, or find technical support and answers to frequently asked questions.

It’s all there, all year round! Explore now.

Take the next step in your Sound Waves journey

Explore Sound Waves Online
Find out how the resources will work for your school
Speak with an education consultant