Monster Mapped Words
Developing Orthographic Knowledge - DOK Daily with Miss Emma
Orthographic Learning with Speech Sound Monsters : Monster Mapping!
I Can Read Without You (ICRWY) Project from The Reading Hut - the Self-Teaching Reading Program
Vocabulary learning is facilitated when spellings accompany pronunciations and meanings of new words to activate Orthographic Mapping. Teaching students the strategy of pronouncing novel words aloud as they do the Monster Routine, 'Following the Sounds to Say the Word' - both of which lead to a greater awareness and when they read text silently - activates orthographic mapping and helps them build their vocabularies. Because spelling-sound connections are retained in memory, they impact the processing of phonological constituents and phonological memory for words. The DOK Daily activities are POWERFUL!
Choose words with correspondences likely to be new to the children
Always ask 'what was new for you?'
Orthographic learning has been defined as the transition from the slow decoding of an unfamiliar new word to the rapid automatic recognition of the same word. It is widely acknowledged that beginning readers need to make this transition in order to become proficient readers (e.g., Ehri and Wilce, 1983; Share, 1995;).
The self-teaching hypothesis is associated with a strong claim for the importance of phonological decoding in orthographic learning (Share, 1995, 1999). It proposes that phonological decoding is the first and most important step of orthographic learning, providing an opportunity for this learning to take place. The act of phonological decoding is proposed to allow the reader access to a word's spoken form, as well as to draw their attention to the order and identity of the letters. This, together with repeated exposure to the new word, assists the reader in establishing an orthographic representation. According to the self-teaching hypothesis, although phonological decoding is crucial in orthographic learning, it is not the only factor: there is a secondary, orthographic processing component, which also determines the success of orthographic learning, although the nature of this mechanism is little understood (Share, 1995, 2011).
Skilled readers are at the stage of reading to learn, referred to within the Speech Sound Pics (SSP) Approach as
'Phase 3' : explicit phonics instruction has ended. Within Phase 1 and 2 - which take place in Reception and should end by the middle of Year 1 for at least 90% of the children, beginning readers are learning to read, which is a gradual process but far quicker and easier when learning within the SSP classroom as fully differentiated, and with each child fully engaged. Spaced repetition is used: there is little 'front of the class teaching'. When learning to read beginning readers must first develop written word knowledge, i.e., a mental lexicon, including knowledge of the general spelling patterns and the word-specific spellings. This orthographic learning process supports the reader’s critical transition from a beginning reader to a skilled reader (Nation & Castles, 2017).
Without the phoneme characters (Speech Sound Monsters) it can be incredible difficult to explore and understand the 'whole code' - which is made visible to SSP children as each classroom displays all spelling choices using the Speech Sound Wall. Each Speech Sound Monster has their own Spelling Cloud. The correspondences taught explicitly are displayed on the outside, and other choices are inside the clouds. We could not possible teach these explicitly, and assuming all children will move into the self-teaching phase because they have sat through a phonics program is a bizarre idea- like buying a lottery ticket each week to pay the rent. It's just not reliable enough. Too much is left to chance. So I teach them how to map - not restricted to the correspondences on the outside!
The Self-Teaching Hypothesis, first developed by Jorm and Share (1983) and elaborated by Share (1995), is a leading theoretical framework in conceptualizing how unassisted orthographic learning occurs among children, a process called self-teaching. As argued in Share (1995), it is not possible for children acquire all new written words via direct instruction due to the vast number of new words developing readers encounter in printed texts. Children can see them all on the Speech Sound Monster Wall.
Direct instruction involves explicit, direct teaching in the classroom and various forms of external support from adults or peers beyond the classroom. The quality of this instruction differs considerably, and therefore the orthographic knowledge acquired. The Self-Teaching Hypothesis argues that children implicitly acquire new words in their independent reading, and the key underlying mechanism to make this happen is phonological recoding (i.e., print-sound translation) Many children (at least 1 in 4) do not make this transition to this 'implicit learning' stage despite being taught 'phonics' daily for 2 years within the UK, and the gap between those children and the learners who no longer need guidance - they simply need to read daily (ideally for pleasure) - becomes huge.
With good phonemic awareness and an engaging kick-start' to reading and spelling using the 4 SSP Code Levels most children would transition easily - however it is the various activities exposing children to the whole code that speeds up this process for all.
Children learn to map words - and to love to map words! This means that they use all clues available to figure out the word, if they cannot map it with existing code knowledge - and then 'track back'. They see 'put' in a sentence and can figure it out, and then understand the phoneme /u/ is mapped to a different speech sound than when the word is 'but' or 'cut'. It is far easier for them to learn this when they understand mapping, than for an adult to try to 'explain' it to them, or ask them to memorise whole words or 'spelling rules'. Less teaching, more learning, is the clear message within my work: good phonemic awareness and orthographic knowledge develops, and the children then have the tools to figure out the rest. The trick is to ensure that they WANT to do this - fo fun! And why I prefer that children start early. Mini Monster Mappers!
Indeed, Share (1995) noted that contextual information plays a role in self-teaching in that it compensates for partial or incomplete decoding resulting from poor decoding skills (e.g., poor readers) or word property (e.g., irregularly spelled words in English).
This is not promoted within synthetic phonics training manuals: teachers are told that child must 'sound out' words and not use 'cues'. As an ICRWY SEN Specialist tutor I find this idea alarming. Indeed, much of what children experience when learning in classrooms using these programs is limiting, and goes against not only the science of reading but the science of learning. The argument that 'phonics' is going to bring about better outcomes for children than 'no phonics' is a weak argument for explicit instruction that does not result in the highest number of children moving into the 'self-teaching' phase before the end of Year 1. After over 10 years of mandated synthetic phonics in the UK the claim that it is 'better than whole language' is wearing thin. This is not the only way to teach children to map phonemes and graphemes, and to do so with fluency and comprehension.
Rather than try to explain this, or become embroiled in political arguments I find it easier to create ready-mapped words to use within the Monster Routine, as the children will begin to spot the patterns that have been ignored, or that teachers are unaware of. Many are blinded by the letters as so used to following programs rather than enhancing their own learning. I am so concerned about this that I am in the process of developing The AI Kindergarten Teacher - parents of 4 - 7 year old will be able to use it at home - for free. When presented with material they understand, children will learn to read and spell in spite of whatever is happening while at school. They understand and enjoy Monster Mapping.
Miss Emma MA SEN
Neurodivergent Reading Whisperer
We are Pattern Seekers.
I Can Read Without You ICRWY Project
Ehri, L. C., and Wilce, L. S. (1983). Development of word identification speed in skilled and less skilled beginning readers. J. Educ. Psychol. 75, 3–18. doi: 10.1037/0022-0618.104.22.168
Nation, K., & Castles, A. (2017). Putting the learning into orthographic learning. In K. Cain, D. L. Compton, & R. K. Parrila (Eds.), Theories of reading development (Vol. 15, pp. 147–168). John Benjamins Publishing Company. [Crossref], [Google Scholar]
Share, D. (1999). Phonological recoding and orthographic learning: a direct test of the self-teaching hypothesis. J. Exp. Child Psychol. 72, 95–129. doi: 10.1006/jecp.1998.2481Pubmed Abstract | Pubmed Full Text | CrossRef Full Text
Share, D. (2011). “The role of phonology in reading acquisition: the self-teaching hypothesis,” in Explaining Individual Differences in Reading: Theory and Evidence, eds S. Brady, D. Braze, and C. Fowler (New York, NY: Psychology Press), 45–68.
Share, D., and Shalev, C. (2004). Self-teaching in normal and disabled readers. Read. Writ. 17, 769–800. doi: 10.1007/s11145-004-2658-9