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Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan advocates for phonics

Barbara Murray - Thursday, October 10, 2019

The Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan in talking about NAPLAN has stated that there should be a stronger focus on phonics, a method that involves teaching kids the sounds made by individual letters or groups of letters.

Literacy teaching was my passion in all year levels in primary schools over a period of thirty years. Later, I shared my experiences as co-author of Sound Waves, a synthetic phonics approach that focuses on the process of synthesising (i.e. taking small parts and putting them together to form a whole).

It uses a sound-to-letter strategy, which acknowledges sounds that can be represented in more than one way in written form. This approach focuses first on phonemes – the basic units of sound. It then explores the letters that represent these sounds and how they can be put together to form written words.
Dan Tehan, MP, Federal Education Minister
The phonemic approach to learning Australian English is effective because it replaces rote learning with strategies for reading and writing, using explicit teaching and play-based learning activities. Sound Waves is a dynamic program consolidating phonemic awareness orally, aurally and kinaesthetically.
The Sound Waves program is designed to engage students through interesting and pleasurable activities while learning to understand our language and how we use the alphabet to represent the 43 sounds we use to speak our language, in written form.
More recently I have written and published Sound Stories, a 4-book boxed set of 43 illustrated stories that teachers (and parents/grandparents) can use to interact with young children and introduce the 43 sounds we use in the words we speak.

Because early learners respond better to visual aids and there isn’t a complete set of illustrated stories introducing the 43 sounds anywhere in Australia, I felt compelled to fill the void.

I encourage all schools to purchase Sound Stories, which is now available in PDF format for projection on electronic whiteboards.
At only $2.10 per story, they are exceptional value.
As you can gather from my comments above, I agree with Minister Tehan!
Sound Waves is available from
Sound Stories is available from


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