Intervention details

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Units Of Sound

Not evaluated for Primary reading
Not evaluated for Secondary reading

Intervention description

Units Of Sound is a software-based reading intervention aimed at dyslexic pupils and struggling readers from KS2 upwards. Units Of Sound covers four strands of reading, spelling, memory and dictation, and moves through three stages: basic (cvc) words, blends and digraphs, and independent reading with multi-syllable words.

The software includes screening, which assesses pupils’ progress and places them at an appropriate level, and also provides printable records for teachers. Schools signing up to the intervention can purchase a licence for either one computer, six computers, twenty computers, or an unlimited licence; the cost varies depending which licence is chosen, and resources are sold separately.

Dyslexia Action, who disseminate Units Of Sound, also offer set of hands-on, non-software based materials called the Active Literacy Kit. This covers the skills from no letter-sound correspondence through to reading and spelling simple (cvc) words, and can be used as a supplement to Units Of Sound. Additionally an online version of Units Of Sound is currently in development, and is scheduled to be complete in early 2014.

Staffing requirements

Pupils can use the software either during the school day, as part of an after-school club, or at home. Typically, a group of pupils will use the software under the supervision of a staff member, often a teaching assistant.

Professional development/training

A range of training options are available, from online training at a cost of £100 per teacher to face-to-face training either in-school or at a local Dyslexia Action centre. Alternatively, schools can sign up for the Partnership 4 Literacy scheme, which includes Units Of Sound and also involves consultancy and regular school visits from Dyslexia Action specialist teachers.


Runs on either Windows or Macintosh with an up to date version of Adobe Flash Player. Sound capabilities are needed for playback and recording. Need a good quality headset with microphone connected to the computer, ideally a noise cancelling headset.

Evidence Summary

Units Of Sound was evaluated by the Education Endowment Foundation in 2015, but the evaluation did not meet the quality needed to change its evidence rating.

Key research

This attempt to evaluate the UofS programme was severely compromised by high numbers of schools dropping out and students not completing testing. Consequently, no firm conclusions can be drawn from it.

Key stages

  • Key Stage 2
  • Key Stage 3
  • Key Stage 4

Targeted groups

  • Struggling readers
  • Dyslexic pupils


Contact provider for quote

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