What is Sounds and Symbols

The ‘Sounds and Symbols™’ programmes and activities:

  • can be used in all early years settings to promote early literacy skill development
  • can be delivered as timed sessions or individual activities may be integrated into any early years curricula
  • are specifically designed to meet the literacy outcomes of early years curricula
  • include specially arranged music to complement syllabification
  • include songs and rhymes which are specially selected for use in helping to support early literacy skill development
  • incorporate activities from the colourful and engaging ‘Sounds and Symbols Resource Book’ which offers visual stimuli for early reading
  • include the use of props and instruments to support visual and kinaesthetic learning and to help to develop gross and fine motor skills
  • offer structured sessions which include a range of stimulating and educational activities providing playful and effective learning
  • are based upon sound research evidence, much of which is detailed in the book ‘Sound before Symbol‘: Developing Literacy through Music’ by Maria Kay
  • can be delivered to early years settings by an individual, delivering ‘Sounds and Symbols™’ programmes as a business venture

Sounds and Symbols™ is the ONLY early years literacy system using musical activities based upon many years of sound research which is detailed in the book ‘Sound Before Symbol’. It is uniquely designed to promote the development of literacy skills through a structured programme of professionally selected and recorded musical activities. The sessions are interactive, multi-sensory and provide educational opportunites to support the National Curriculum. Such areas include, the development of social skills, gross and fine motor skills, creative development, personal and emotional development and knowledge of the world, in addition, of course, to the primary focus of literacy!

Maria-KayAbout the Founder

‘Sounds and Symbols™’ was inaugurated in 1998. It was devised by Maria Kay, a music and literacy specialist, following in-depth research into the commonalities between music and literacy.  Maria has over 30 years’ experience in education as a teacher.   Initially a Business Studies teacher, she has taught literacy skills internationally to children and adults.  She has developed and run workshops on music and literacy and worked with parents and children on child development programmes.  Maria’s research was reported on BBC Look East by David Meredith in 1998.  She set up Sounds and Symbols groups in Suffolk, Yorkshire and Oman.  Maria has written a book ‘Sound Before Symbol’ explaining the importance of music to literacy skills development in the early years. Maria currently resides in Scotland, working as a literacy consultant.