Sound Beginnings – from the beginning…

Education has run through the veins of Naomi Kinnaird and Bronwyn Weston for many years. Their experience, knowledge, and desire to make a difference led them to establish Sound Beginnings. 

Both Bronwyn and Naomi have a wealth of experience in education, having taught in schools for many years and later both in professional development and coaching. 

The start of Sound Beginnings, says Naomi, was back in 2017 when teachers were getting onboard with structured literacy as opposed to the ‘balanced literacy’ approach taken for a number of years. 

Teachers had been noticing for years that children were starting school with lower and lower oral language and literacy skills.

“From our research and reading we identified that oral language and communication were not being given the focus needed for learning and literacy success. Learners were missing out – before starting school and once at school the language gap was growing,” says Naomi. 

Bronwyn adds that they discovered a lack of understanding of the importance of the role of oral language and communication across all levels of learning. 

“We wanted to be able to provide practical oral language and communication support,” she adds. 

Both Naomi and Bronwyn agree with the research that identifies oral language as the foundation on which all learning is built.  

“This research supported by our work with schools, led to the development of the literacyscapeTM, ” says Naomi.  “This is a framework showing the key elements of effective literacy teaching. The properties of oral language and communication encircle the elements of structured literacy instruction depicting how key oral language and communication are to a sound beginning in literacy and learning”, she adds.  

What they have created is something they both wish they had known about many years ago. “What a difference it would have made to the learning of the learners that we were working with then,” says Naomi. 

Driven to make a difference

  Naomi and Bronwyn both continue to be driven by the opportunity to make a difference, in not just the lives of learners, but also educators. 

“What drives me is a desire to improve the lives of students by inspiring educators and leaders to improve the way they teach,” says Bronwyn. 

Naomi adds that she continues to be excited by the opportunities to make a difference for teachers and learners, seeing the reactions and changes in engagement and learning. 

“Making a difference for learners so they can be the best they can be and become positive changemakers for better tomorrows,” she adds.  

Naomi and Bronwyn also lead EDconnect, a New Zealand Ministry of Education approved professional development provider. 

Outside of ‘work’ both Naomi and Bronwyn enjoy the good things in life, traveling, spending time with loved ones, swimming and enjoying life in Omokoroa.

Why Sound Beginnings?

Sound Beginnings was developed to provide oral language and communication knowledge, resources and professional development for teachers that can be used across curriculum areas and levels. 

With years of educational experience and knowledge behind them, Naomi Kinnard and Bronwyn Weston established Sounds Beginnings when they noticed oral language and communication were not being given the focus needed for literacy and learning success. 

They discovered that there was a lack of understanding of the importance of oral language and communication and its crucial role in reading and writing.

“All children need language and literacy to be successful. Oral language is the foundation upon which all learning occurs,” says Bronwyn. 

“The research into practice led us to create the Literacyscape, our view of the framework on which the key elements of effective literacy teaching are built,” she adds. 

Key components include conversations and questioning, vocabulary acquisition and use, verbal reasoning, and abstract language capability.

How it works…

The Sound Beginnings Team design and create practical activities and resources that can be used by teachers of all ages and across all curriculum areas. 

Sound Beginnings Membership

Join us to access premium oral language and communication content for teachers who want to access tools, resources, and readings to enrich and support their daily practice. Our membership area is being continually added to with material for early years through to tertiary.

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