Te Kete Ipurangi Navigation:

Te Kete Ipurangi

Te Kete Ipurangi user options:

Literacy Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.


The Ready to Read Phonics Plus books have recently been developed to support instructional reading and focus on explicit teaching of word recognition knowledge and skills. We recommend teachers of children in early years use these books to support early literacy development in the classroom.  

Please note over the coming months we will be making changes to existing content on Literacy Online to ensure current early literacy teacher supports place a sufficient emphasis on word recognition. Throughout this process you may find content has been changed or has been moved. Please let us know by emailing [email protected] if you cannot find something you are looking for and keep an eye on the newsreel for links to newly updated content. We welcome any feedback that will help us make it easier for you to navigate the changes.

Sound Sense logo.

Sound Sense: Supporting reading and writing in years 1–3 is a revised and updated edition of Sound Sense: Phonics and Phonological Awareness (2003). 

You can download the new PDF here: 

The ability to hear the different sounds within words is essential to reading and writing successfully. Sound Sense provides suggestions for how you can support students, particularly year 1 students, in developing and applying understandings about sounds, letters, and words when reading and writing.

The suggestions are closely linked to the expectations for students’ learning described in  The Literacy Learning Progressions for the first year of school. They include links to specific Ready to Read shared texts, including poem cards. You can find many more suggestions for building and consolidating these understandings in the teacher support materials for all Ready to Read guided texts.

Sounds and Words – a clarification

Sound Sense provides suggestions for how teachers can support students in years 1–3 to develop and apply understandings about sounds, letters, and words when reading and writing.

Sounds and Words is a different online resource, for teachers of students in years 1–8. It has a wider focus than Sound Sense. It provides information about vocabulary and grammar as well as phonological awareness and also includes a summary of the resources available to teachers.

Clay, M. M. (2013). An Observation Survey of Early Literacy Achievement, 3rd ed. Auckland: Pearson.

Clay M. M. (2014). By Different Paths to Common Outcomes: Literacy Learning and Teaching. Auckland: The Marie Clay Literacy Trust.

Clay M. M. (2016). Literacy Lessons Designed for Individuals, 2nd ed. Auckland: The Marie Clay Literacy Trust.

Cunningham, P. M. (2005). Phonics They Use: Words for Reading and Writing, 4th ed. Boston: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon.

International Reading Association (1997). The Role of Phonics in Reading Instruction: A Position Statement of the International Reading Association. Newark: International Reading Association. https://www.literacyworldwide.org/docs/default-source/where-we-stand/phonics-position-statement.pdf?sfvrsn=6 Accessed 15 April 2017.

Ministry of Education (2003). Effective Literacy Practice in Years 1 to 4. Wellington: Learning Media.

Ministry of Education (2009). Learning through Talk. Wellington: Learning Media.

Ministry of Education (2010). The Literacy Learning Progressions. Wellington: Learning Media.

TSM for Ready to Read guided and shared books can be found at http://instructionalseries.tki.org.nz/Instructional-Series/Ready-to-Read


The Ministry of Education and Lift Education would like to thank all those who contributed to the development of this resource, including the writers of the original material (Kay Hancock and Sandra McDonald), and those who contributed their time and expertise in developing this updated version: Judy Aitken, Susan Court, Gemma Dawson, Kay Hancock, Andrea Piters, Esmay Sutherland, Jane van der Zeyden, Bernadette Wilson, and Melanie Winthrop.

The quotes from Marie M. Clay are used with the permission of the Marie Clay Literacy Trust.

Updated on: 29 Mar 2021