Pre-Level 1: Sounds Sensible

Sounds Sensible® is effective phonological awareness and beginning phonics instruction for beginning or struggling readers who are not ready for S.P.I.R.E.® Level 1.


  • For beginning readers – essential instruction that builds the foundational skills of reading to prevent reading failure before it starts
  • For struggling readers – an Orton-Gillingham based intervention for any grade level that serves as Pre-Level 1 of the SPIRE program.

Sounds Sensible provides hands-on instruction in the most reliable indicators of reading success: phonological awareness, alphabet knowledge, and understanding letter-sound relationships, as well as handwriting. Our unique 5-step lessons are structured and sequential for the mastery of 20 consonants and short a.

Kit includes:

  • Teacher's Guide with Blackline Masters
  • Traffic Light Handwriting Chart
  • Instructional Cards
  • Sound and Rhyme Mats, Game Cards, and Manipulatives

*Materials include optional elements for younger students.


Teacher’s Guides, Levels 1–8

This invaluable resource includes step-by-step instruction for both novice and experienced educators. Detailed lesson plans provide model dialogues to support and scaffolded instruction for every step of the S.P.I.R.E. 10-step lesson.


  • Multiple reinforcing lessons for every concept
  • Opportunites for informal, formative assessment
  • Point-of-use references to Blackline Masters, Readers, and Workbooks
  • Extensive word, phrase, and sentence lists for individualizing instruction
To learn which concepts are covered in each level, download the Scope and Sequence.

Blackline Masters, Levels 1–8

Reproducible instructional and assessment materials organized in one location:

  • Lesson Planners
  • Graphic Organizers
  • Key Word Concept Sheets
  • Phoneme Segmentation Sheets
  • Phoneme-Grapheme Sheets
  • Fluency Drills
  • Quick Checks
  • Decoding Assessments
  • Post-Level Assessment
  • PLUS - A variety of formal and informal assessments

Student Readers, Levels 1–8

Student Readers are comprised of fully decodable text, controlled for phonics and sight word knowledge, including the instructions. Included are multiple reading passages for every concept and word lists for developing word analysis skills. These interactive workbooks come in an unillustrated format for application of decoding strategies, word recognition, and comprehension. 

Student Workbooks, Levels 1–8

Student Workbooks provide decoding, comprehension, and fluency practice for every concept. These interactive books includes comprehension questions for every passage from the Student Readers. All text, including the directions, are decodable.

Illustrated Decodable Readers

This extensive library of 120 decodable readers covers topics from science, social studies, and literature. As students apply phonics skills to connected text they are exposed to a variety of genres including biographies, fables, poetry, Greek myth, science experiments, and much more!

  • Increase reading practice and build student confidence
  • Bridge learning from decoding to comprehension to fluency
  • Engage students with captivating topics and illustrations
  • Provide a real world application of phonics skills

Available in print and digital formats.


Level Skill Sequence
1 a, i, o, u, e, sh, ch, th, wh, -ng, -nk
2 ff, ll, ss, al, wa, qu, ck, tch, vCe
3 open syllable, ild, old, ind, ost, oll, ay, -ed, -s,-es,-ing, Twin & Non-Twin Consonant Syllable Division, ou, a-
4 ea, -le, oa, ai, ee, oo, igh, ie
5 Soft c & g, /er/, dge, s = /z/, ow, oe, or,ar
6 a-, -able, ph, ought, aught, ue, ew, tu, oi, oy, aw, au, ey, kn, wr, mb, gh, gu, -age, Open Syllable

View the skills and titles in Set A & B.

Teacher Materials

Placement Assessment

This free assessment provides data for the placement of students within S.P.I.R.E. Click on the links below to download.


Phonogram Cards 

Color coded cards for daily phonogram automaticity practice. (1 set per small group)

Word Cards 

High frequency word cards for automaticity drills. Traffic light colors cue students:
  • Stop! Non-phonetic (sight) word! (red)
  • Slow down! There’s an unusual sound! (yellow)
  • Go! It’s decodable! (green)
    (1 per teacher for each S.P.I.R.E. level)

Phoneme Segmentation/Phoneme-Grapheme Chart

Model phonemic awareness activities with this two-sided, 15” x 18” magnetic board. Magnetized circles and rectangles representing phonemes and syllables are included. (1 per teacher)

Student Manipulatives

Magnetic Board and Letters

Students build and maniplate words with this color-coded letter set, designed to assist students in differentiating between different types of phonograms. (1 per student)

Sound Circles and Rectangles

Students use white and green sound circles to represent consonants and vowels. These manipulatives mirror those used with the teacher's Magnetic Phoneme Segmentation/Phoneme-Grapheme Chart. (1 per student)