What is Code Mapping, the innovative design element we have patented?
You have seen us 'Code Map' for years, which is the term we use when we ask children to underline and number the graphemes, using their 'Duck Hands' (trademarked term)
But the design we have patented refers to a specific element, as seen in the hard copy and student video resources. We have used this design to 'Code Map' publically available and widely used open course resources used to teach 'sight words' in order to align teaching methods with the science (Oxford, Fry, Dolch etc)
So the resources SHOW how each word is segmented, according to the phonemes, as would be transcribed using an IPA 'translation' site like tophonetics.com There is NO specific focus on letters that are 'vowels' or represent 'vowel sounds'. The first grapheme in the first word of a piece of text is in black, and the students see the words 'code mapped' in order to 'follow the sounds to say the words'. The mapping continues, ie the first grapheme in each word isn't black, it is colour coded in accordance to previous word on the page.
Only 2 words in the English language can't be code mapped. These might be your true 'sight words' to be memorised. The phonemes can be identified (the word 'sounded out') but those sounds do not have letter/s to hook to, that make any logical sense when analysing all English words. The children talk about the words 'one' and 'once' (shown in red) and refer to the Speech Sound King who was in a bad mood that day. In our 'story' the Speech Sound King created the code, and stores the mapping in his 'Code Mapping Book' - the children carry them everywhere (you might call them dictionaries)
I recently saw a post that appeared to be using our patented design, to show this segmentation. However it appears the person had colour coded the 'vowel and consonant sounds'.
So in the word 'fly' the f and l were the same colour. But this has made me realise I need to contact schools and organisations so they are aware of our IP. We had to take action against a school who had copied our Spelling Clouds, and who refused to remove them as they did not 'believe' anyone could trademark or patent displaying graphemes in a cloud. It would be far easier if people would check this simple stuff first. But when I posted about the patent some no so bright spark insisted we can't patent a design feature relating to the segmentation of graphemes in English words. Yes, that is exactly what happens when you patent a design. It would be like saying you can't patent a colour shade that is specific to your business, because colours should be available to everyone. It just doesn't work that way. The mapping of phonemes to graphemes also doesn't 'belong' to the mental process described as 'orthographic mapping'.
So here goes, explaining. The video might help, too.
We have a design that utilises the IPA to segment English words and colour code the sequence of graphemes (letter or group of letters that represent IPA symbols). The software will show a word, sentence or page of text ‘Code Mapped’. From the first word to the last, every grapheme is shown in alternating black/grey colours. I have designed this specific way of ‘Code Mapping’ to be as unobtrusive to the reader as possible. The reader can choose to see the words Code Mapped, to show the segmentation, or switch the Code Mapping off to see text as it would appear in a book (black).
It is anticipated in future that the reader (or teacher) can choose the ‘level’ of grey colour, to have the segmentation highly contrasting or just barely contrasting.
We intend to research the effect different shading levels has on struggling readers.
Colour coding the grapheme segmentation in words helps struggling readers (demonstrated by schools with regards to their 'before and after' data, especially those with identified phonemic awareness deficits) to see the segmentation. It removes the necessity of ‘imagining’ or ‘remembering’ where the segmentation lies. This visual enhancement quickly shows the brain the exact one-to-one mapping for each sound to letter/s in the word. When watching the videos the students also HEAR the mapped phonemes.
David Kilpatrick explains, “Orthographic mapping proposes that we use the pronunciations of words that are already stored in long-term memory as the anchoring points for the orthographic sequences (letters) used to represent those pronunciations.” This visual enhancement quickly shows the brain the exact one-to-one mapping for each sound to letter/s in the word. Furthermore, we propose that this facilitates 'self-teaching' as outlined by David Share and his “Self-Teaching Hypothesis” especially when students use the videos. As seen in the Sight Words Done Differently videos students as young as 3 years old are looking at 'Code Mapped' text, can see the segmentation, and can hear the graphemes articulated in order and the blended. According to Kilpatrick with good phonemic awareness it only takes 1 - 4 exposures to store words (and be able to retrieve them later) Then they apply this knowledge when WRITING the words, not just reading them again.
Letter NAMES are not used. It is the mapping of speech sounds to letter/s that leads to this mental process given the label of 'Orthographic Mapping'. It is simply a way to describe what happens when we read without conscious thought. No-one argues that this is what is needed - the arguments arise when discussing HOW to get them to this stage, that could be termed 'Orthographic Mapping'.
An important distinction is that 'Code Mapped' words aren’t colour coded based on vowel and/or consonant ‘sounds’. The words have an alternating colour code to show how the alphabetic letters represent each of the sounds in the word in order. If a word is shown as having black/grey/black/grey/black then we know there are five sounds in the word, we know the word is represented by five IPA symbols. Each alternating group of letter or letters represents each sound in the word in order.
The Speech Sound Monsters are an alternative representation for a phonetic symbol, so for this word we know there will be five Speech Sound Monsters. When we know how many sounds are in a word, we can struggle to link them to the correct letters in the word. A alternating colour code shows us which letter or group of letters represents each sound, in order. The third colour (blue) is used to signify the sound pic sandwich (split digraph), especially when there is no room to show the semi circle/upside down arch that links the two vowel letters. The phoneme monsters give them the information about how to PRONOUNCE the word. So Code Mapping shows where the pictures of the sounds (graphemes) are in the words, and Monster Mapping shows them how to say each Sound Pic. Without phonemic awareness the student will be unable to blend those sounds. Phonemic awareness is key to everything, as I have been talking about for over a decade.
It can be argued that the science of reading indicates that we do not learn to read by analysing why sounds are where they are in words (syllable and phonics rules) even though the brain looks for patterns. Programs that operate under this misconception will colour code vowel sounds and consonant sounds because they are important for their rule based instructions. The science of reading has proven that proficient phonemic awareness and proficient letter/sound knowledge is what is essential. The Speech Sound Pics (SSP) Approach 'Code Mapping' technique and design concentrates on ensuring readers reach proficiency in both phonemic awareness and letter/sound knowledge. However we are very aware of how few phoneme to grapheme correspondences are covered within the four 'Code Levels' (around 100 or so) compared to how many there actually are in the English language (as seen in the Monster Bank cards, where we display all of these correspondences).
The Code Levels are used to introduce concepts, through explicit teaching, however other activities and resources facilitate 'self-teaching'. We speak of Code Mapping becoming the child's inner-teacher, and adults around them as guides.
Segmenting words into phonemes should be central to reading and spelling program or approach. It is the only way to ensure the needs of the highest number of students are likely to be met.
'Code Mapping' however, with regards to the design patent, as seen here, is very specific and unique to the Speech Sound Pics Approach.
BEd Hons. MA Special Educational Needs. Doctoral Student, University of Reading.