Speech Sound Pics (SSP) - Sound Pictographs

Pictograph Mnemonics have been around for decades, with a picture integrated (embedded) in letters for beginner readers - see Letterland. However, research is limited to the very beginning stages of the learning to read journey. The students learn the associated speech sound, however, this only represents ONE spelling choice for that sound. So the children do not associate the picture with a phoneme, they associate it with ONE phoneme-grapheme 'map'. Children have to learn these as many are not obvious.
A huge drawback is that children with poor phonemic awareness (or who speak little English) are taught to memorise this association - they may not understand that they are looking at a snake, and are to say 'sss' because the first sound in the spoken word is /s/ - they may think it is because the snake is hissing, or presented in the shape of the letter s. And they may then become confused when they see the word 'sugar' on their 'cereal' packet...Children with poor phonemic awareness struggle to understand that there are speech sounds in words, as they can't isolate, segment or blend them easily, and yet they are to associate that pictograph with one of those speech sounds, usually the 'first sound' (but not always) There can be a range of issues that prevent the child from actually using the picture embedded mnemonic as intended, and this type of pictograph mnemonic is arguably more beneficial to children who have good phonemic awareness to begin with. The child also needs to pronounce the word as intended (listen to children say 'a' for 'ant' in Australia to understand what I mean; because of accent they do not use the sound æ when they say 'ant'.

I, therefore, use Speech Sound characters as Sound Pictographs - so all the learners need to learn is the associated sound - nothing else- so far less opportunities for confusion. The 'phonetic symbols for kids' represent the speech sound and are not linked with letters until in a word. Letters do not represent anything until in a word. They also enable non-verbal students to clearly demonstrate the speech sounds they hear and want to use when spelling. My non-verbal ASD students actually gave me the idea initially - they really needed them! SoundPictographs (Monster Mapping) help learners at ALL stages - not just in the beginning.  

If you use the SSP Monster Mapping app you can see how ANY child, with the cognitive capacity to read, is able to learn to read and spell using the 100 ICRWY (I Can Read Without You) lessons. Just follow them and see how much easier it is for children (or adults) to learn to read using Code Mapping® and Monster Mapping®! Parents can learn to read with their child, using the SSP Monster Mapping app lessons. By using the SSP Monster Mapping app you will quickly understand how these SoundPictographs (Sound Pics®) also help learners figure out unfamiliar words, and especially words they will not decode using the phonics taught systematically within the 4 Code Levels - the 100 high-frequency graphemes needed to pass the UK Phonics Screener check, but not sufficient for all to be able to read. Once these words are understood they only need 1 or 2 exposures to retain the 'irregular' word (and understand the mapping) and store within long term memory. The Speech Sound Pics Approach has helped thousands of teachers ensure that the highest number of their students reach the phase of 'orthographic mapping' and 'self-teaching' phase earlier - for 95% of children this can be before the end of year 1. The new Transition Readers are my latest (and very exciting) addition to the teacher toolkits; bridging the gap between the stage of using decodable readers and that of independently reading authentic texts. Our goal? Reading earlier for pleasure, not a level! Importantly, the Speech Sound Monsters help students figure out any Monster Mapped word, without needing help - because they simply act as substitute phonetic symbols for kids. No one seems to have even thought to research this yet - only the use of picture embedded mnemonics for the BEGINNING stages of learning to read. If anyone would like to compare my approach to another with regular picture mnemonics, comparing reading AND SPELLING learning outcomes at all stages, please do contact me. We could compare outcomes for Reception aged children using the Speech Sound Pics (SSP) Approach to those using a picture mnemonics based program for a whole academic year? I have details of school leaders and teachers who would be happy to be involved in such a research study. Let's compare effect sizes? Email Support@TheReadingHut.com  


Miss Emma AKA The Reading Whisperer®  
MA SEN. Doctoral Student, University of Reading
Director of The Reading Hut Ltd.   

The Reading Whisperer
Transition Readers from The Reading Hut Ltd
Speech Sound Pictures - Sound Pics
Speech Sound Pics shown - Speech Sound Clouds
SSP Duck Hands- Speech Sound Pics (SSP) Approach
Speech Sound Cloud Wall

'We are PASSIONATE about teaching EVERY child
to read for pleasure!'

The only way to successfully learn to read in English is to know the 'speech sound' values of the letters. We call them 'pictures of speech sounds'

or Sound Pictographs ie 'Speech Sound Pics'.
Welcome to the home of the

Speech Sound Pics (SSP) Approach!

The written code was created to represent speech sounds, not the other way around, so a 'Speech to Print' approach is taken. Phonics is essential for ALL readers, but students will struggle to learn phonics without good phonemic awareness.
We use our unique innovation patent design technique 'Code Mapping' to SHOW students how all words are segmented into sound units (graphemes).

This sentence is code mapped 

We also use Sound Pictograph Mnemonics - Integrated (Embedded) SoundPictographic Mnemonics (another way to focus on the Sound Pics®) Speech Sound Monster characters link only with speech sounds, to reduce cognitive load. We call this Monster Mapping ®

Even when children have good phonemic awareness and are taught 'phonics' they can struggle to know how to pronounce the graphemes they see in unfamiliar words. Many teachers would use phonetic symbols, but these are less appealing to young children. Miss Emma, therefore, created 'Speech Sound Monsters' as an alternative. She 'Code Maps' and 'Monster Maps' texts and books for them, so that they can actually read unfamiliar texts without any help, and reach the stage of 'orthographic mapping' far earlier! 
All but two English words are decodable (can be Code Mapped) When there are graphemes only used in that word, eg the /wo/ in the word two or the /ach/ in the word yacht, they are put on the outside of the Spelling Clouds. There are very few.
Children explore these using the SSP Speech Sound Wall and Spelling Clouds, along the journey to becoming 'orthographic mappers'

Code Mapping shows the phoneme to grapheme mapping
SSP Spelling Piano app

Systematically taught phonics, phonics Code Level (decodable) readers for blending fluency, with the new 'transition readers' to bridge the gap and improve decoding and comprehension skills. 

Code Level Reader Guide- Decodable Readers
SSP Transition Readers
ICRWY Project Lessons - Learn to Read in 100 Lessons online with Miss Emma
SSP Monster Mapping app!

Enhance and extend Communication, Language and Literacy activities
All in One Place

SSP Monster Mapping! SoundPictographs

What are 'Speech Sound Monsters'?

There is a 'phoneme' Monster for every English speech sound. So think of each as being an alternative to a phonetic symbol from the IPA. They enable children to work out how to pronounce the graphemes without help from adults (ie they are 'teacherless teaching tools') and show adults which phonemes they can hear, even if they cannot (or choose not to) produce the speech sounds. 'Monster Mapping' is a fantastic diagnostic tool as adults know how children are segmenting, blending and manipulating phonemes even when they do not yet know the correct graphemes for that word.
The (phoneme) monsters enable children to learn phonics at a rapid pace, and reach the 'self-teaching' phase far earlier.
MonsterMapping.com - See the SSP Monster Mapping apps! 

Monster Mapping®

Monster Mapping high frequency words. SSP
SSP Duck Hands
Visit the SSP School Site LinguisticPhonics.com

Miss Emma is studying doctoral work in the UK - See her SSP UK Site SpeechSoundPics.co.uk