Meet the Sounds-Write team – Naomi, Head of Training

Meet the team! Naomi has taught and led across the primary age range in two National Support Schools. She’s been an Assistant Headteacher and taught phonics, both in the classroom and as an intervention.

Read on to learn more about Naomi’s role at Sounds-Write, what motivates her and some of her best moments so far.

Picture of Naomi smiling into the camera in a green dress and pink earrings.

What’s your role at Sounds-Write?

As Head of Training, my main role is to lead our team of exceptional Sounds-Write trainers. Our trainers come from a range of professional backgrounds and are based in the UK, Australia and the USA. Leading this multidisciplinary team involves knowing our trainers’ strengths and professional interests, understanding the contexts in which they work, and supporting them in their ongoing professional development as Sounds-Write trainers.

My role is to ensure that our trainers have everything they need in order to deliver Sounds-Write training and to support our practitioners in their settings post-training. I am also involved in writing, reviewing and scheduling our growing range of courses, resources and materials.

What’s your particular area of interest and expertise?

I really enjoy visiting schools to coach teachers who are using Sounds-Write in their classrooms. Having been a classroom teacher, I understand very well the demands that are placed on teachers, and that Sounds-Write is but one small part of an otherwise incredibly busy day.

It is an absolute privilege to be invited into classrooms to support teachers with their professional development and striking the right balance between sharing essential information and nurturing the humans involved is essential. School visits offer an opportunity to share knowledge which I have developed to a greater depth since taking on this role and I aim to leave teachers empowered to further develop their practice, and excited to see the impact on their student outcomes as they do.

What first got you interested in Sounds-Write?

I was fortunate to train in Sounds-Write very early in my teaching career and was able to link my new learning on the Sounds-Write course to my prior knowledge of historical linguistics, phonetics, phonology and language acquisition from my recent undergraduate degree in English Language. This really ignited my enthusiasm for teaching reading and writing, and I was keen to get started with my Year 5 class straight away.

How do you keep up with the latest research in the field of phonics and literacy?

As a working parent, I find that podcasts are a great way to keep up with my own professional development as they are ‘hands-free-CPD’ and can be enjoyed whilst driving, cooking, emptying the washing machine or out for a run! I like to listen to podcasts about language, literacy teaching and education more widely.

Another way I keep up with the latest research is through our team reading group where we all read the same article or chapters from a book then get together to discuss it – this is a great way to reflect on how what we’ve read relates to Sounds-Write practice in the classroom, and to our training too.

Tune in to the Sounds-Write podcast, episode three for Naomi’s tips on teaching phonics with fidelity. 

What’s been your best experience as Head of Training?

Recently, I was fortunate enough to travel to Australia to visit some of our Sounds-Write trainers and schools. One of the many highlights of this trip was mentoring one of our newest trainers on her first solo face-to-face course. Delivering the face-to-face course is a real marathon effort – it is four days of intensive training so there is a lot to remember as a new trainer! Watching her confidently deliver the entire course filled me with pride, knowing how much hard work had gone into making this possible, both from the trainer herself and from the experienced trainers involved in mentoring her to this point.

Just like coaching teachers in their classrooms, supporting a new trainer in the training room requires the right balance of heart and smart – something which I endeavour to refine with every mentoring opportunity.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learnt since becoming head of training at Sounds-Write?

I’ve learnt that, whilst I am not teaching in the classroom myself at the moment, I am having an impact on the lives of more children than ever.

At Sounds-Write, our mission is to improve the life chances of children by ensuring that they become proficient readers and writers. We believe that teachers’ knowledge is key to achieving our mission, so, through our team of incredibly knowledgeable and experienced trainers, we provide top quality, evidence-informed training for educators to teach reading and spelling effectively.

What are you most looking forward to in the next year?

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of meeting some of our wonderful Australian trainers in person for the first time. As a remote business, working with colleagues in person is a real treat and I’m looking forward to spending time with our UK-based trainers next month as we share a weekend of professional development together.

Phonics training

Are you ready to start your phonics journey with Sounds-Write? Enquire now for a free consultation with a trainer in your area.
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