The Speech Sound Pics
Approach to teaching phonemic
awareness & orthographic knowledge
in the Aussie classroom setting.
The I Can Read Without You (ICRWY) Project, led by SpLD Specialist Miss Emma, the Neurodivergent Reading Whisperer, aims to empower children to read independently for pleasure and be fascinated by English orthography. Teaching a child to read at home is relatively easy, but it becomes more challenging for teachers in neurodiverse classrooms with 20+ students. This task becomes even tougher for older students in primary school and their teachers. Getting it right in Prep and Year 1 makes a HUGE difference to whole school literacy outcomes because the focus becomes on higher order thinking: reading to learn, not learning to read.
The Speech Sound Pics Approach - used across Australia - sets itself apart by offering systematic and explicit phonics learning at each child's pace using technology and engaging activities. It is a DIFFERENT way to teach the kick-start to phonics phase. Children can do the activities at home, and if they miss school can simply resume at their own learning point when they return - continuing to work through the 4 'Code Levels' (100 grapheme to phonemic correspondences) and 7 HFW Levels (400+ orthographically mapped high frequency words) Children have opportunities to explore the WHOLE code daily, as they cannot be taught all 350+ correspondences explicitly - the Speech Sound Clouds on walls are there to encourage exploration and deeper orthographic learning. Teachers use activities like Speedy Six Spelling, Rapid Writing, Snap and Crack (Cracking Comprehension) etc.
This is to apply phonics learning within meaningful context: children need to be reading and writing daily.
This SSP approach (which is not synthetic phonics) allows teachers to supervise and guide, offering one-on-one support to those who need it most. With the explicit phonics phase completed for at least 90% of the class by the end of their reception year, teachers can focus on developing orthographic knowledge, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. They can also promote 'deep reading' and cultivate cognitive patience. This is aided by the 'transition' readers - One, Two, Three and Away! Children become avid readers as they love the series of 150 books.
The ICRWY Project is managed by The Reading Hut Ltd in the UK.
The Speech Sound Pics (SSP) Approach has not been launched in the UK as it is not a Systematic Synthetic Phonics program, the instructional method currently mandated by the DfE. As a Neurodivergent person Miss Emma does not embrace one-size-fits-all programmes, with a teacher at the front of the class teaching constrained skills: she promotes systematic visual and linguistic phonics, with a focus on enhanced speech and language skills.
Emma Hartnell-Baker and Dr Grace Elliott are SpLD Specialists!
Together they offer teacher training in the UK under Village in the Cloud Ltd.
Watch this free webinar via PATOSS - embracing different perspectives: NeuroSpectives! Trailer above!
First 10 minutes above as a trailer
It includes a lovely memory from Sir Ken Robinson
Dr Grace and Miss Emma are both specialist teachers of children with specific learning differences and also neurodivergent, with a passion for inclusion: together they deliver teacher training and present 'different' webinars for PATOSS via Village in the Cloud Ltd!
Connecting the Universal English Speech & Spelling Code
The Speech Sound Pics (SSP) Approach: teaching phonemic awareness and orthographic knowledge systematically and explicitly, so that the highest number of learners reach the implicit learning stage before the end of Year 1(able to read chapter books)
Print to Speech
(Practising blending skills in real context)
Code and Monster Mapped texts promote phonemic awareness and orthographic knowledge
- easer decoding AND encoding of HFWs
Print to Speech
- learning new graphemes seen within words (not in isolation)
Says the phonemes while drawing the pictures of the sounds - reinforcing PA and mapping skills. Is able to do this with a word that has GPCs she has not be taught (and won't see in the code levels) as she understands the concept (phoneme characters are ground-breaking in this regard
Lara has written the text she wants to write and then used speech sound lines and numbers to check the mapping. She can read it with fluency and also then encode the words with duck hands
She is doing what is needed to store in orthographic lexicon, and is already 'self-teaching' and learning things without conscious thought or effort (implicit learning)
Lara understands the concept of speech sound monsters, sound pics, and easily understands the correspondences. English as its opaque orthography is easy to understand because of the Kick-start phase. She can now use the ICRWY Lessons app resources to build exposure to new correspondences, and explore morphology, etymology etc.
This has taken place within weeks.
The English Code has been made visible, and her brain loves the confidence and independence this brings to her world.
Lara can use the Monster Routine to 'explain' any words and find correspondences in the Spelling Clouds.
The Code Level graphemes (Sound Pics) are on the outside of the clouds but she is discovering new correspondences daily - either from ICRWY Lessons in the app or during the Speedy Six Spelling activities etc - or simply through writing If she is unsure of a word she asks for it, and then figures out the mapping - so always a pattern seeker, and explorer of words. At this point we are thinking of the history of words (etymology) and why spelt as they are. Which are the meaningful parts? (morphology)
Within weeks of learning in this way (getting what she needs, when she needs it - both print to speech AND speech to print!) she wants to map words everywhere.
SSP is is not a program, is it an approach that centres around getting each child to the implicit learning phase as quickly as possible, so they can learn by reading - and because they WANT to read.
Designed by the Neurodivergent Reading Whisperer, who loves learning to be hands-on, differentiated, meaningful and logical.
The SSP Kindergarten teacher is rarely at the front of the class! They are the cheerleader, navigation guide and also learning WITH the children.
The AI Kindergarten Reading Teacher will ensure that ALL children can do this quickly and easily - anywhere in the world.
An orange curly caterpillar - orthographically mapped. Choose words and sentences that come up in daily life. The tech I’m working on types the words after they type in speech sounds, using the monster sounds. It then says the word or sentence. It is being developed for nonspeaking children so that they have a voice - a speech generating device. The Sound Monsters are alternatives to phonetic symbols. Children using the Speech Sound Pics Approach to exploring phonemic and orthographic awareness are so used to using Duck Hands to segment spoken words, and of thinking in terms of ‘pictures of speech sounds’ being then placed on the speech sound lines, that this is a natural extension and will also teach that nonverbal child to read and spell. I understand this is ten years ahead of where most schools are with regard to teaching ‘phonics’ - generally starting the other way round, with print! - that many won’t understand this. I also understand that many who do not really understand the science of reading will feel a huge rush of panic as they, too, have been approaching the application (instruction of phonics) backwards. Change can be messy. Take a scientific worldview and we can make understanding English orthography easy, and so much fun all kids read for pleasure. Kids deserve a voice
Speech and language pathologists / therapists have to learn IPA, which is like learning another language. It is used to transcribe speech samples and analyse production difficulties. Every English speech sound has a phonetic symbol. The IPA is also known as the universal Spelling Code.
Our Code Mapping Tool in the ICRWY Lessons app shows where the letters in English words 'map' to these English speech sounds. This helps students develop orthographic awareness, and bridges spoken and written language, increasing orthographic knowledge. We SHOW the Code - Visible English Spelling!
Speech and Language Therapist / Pathologists need enough orthographic knowledge to collaborate with and to support the efforts of the classroom teacher(s) and/or special education teacher(s) with whom they work. Our approach is designed specifically BY NeuroReadies FOR Neurodivergent learners.
Our work combines SLT and the acquisition of orthographic knowledge to bridge these gaps.
We are connecting Speech and Language Therapy with the Universal Spelling Code.
This helps children learn 'phonics' more easily, as a 'kick-start' towards applying this knowledge, and towards using 'Orthographic Mapping' skills as fluent, engaged readers.
'Speech Sound Monsters®'
Get the Spelling Piano app for tablets
Toddlers love being Little Monsters Mappers!
Breaking down the 'learning to read and spell' journey into easy-to-understand inter-woven skills and steps.
'Code Mapping® words to highlight the
'Speech Sound Pics®' (graphemes)
- Using the IPA to make English Orthography more 'Transparent'
- Bridging the gap between spoken and written English
We want ALL children to find reading and spelling easier to learn! #NeuroReadies
Explicit, systematic DIFFERENTIATED phonics instruction kick-starts implicit orthographic learning for ALL.
Code Mapping® and Monster Mapping® speed up the Orthographic Learning journey towards Orthographic Mapping
Schools can access the mapping tool with the ICRWY Lessons app
Students can map their own texts with the tool.
Orthographic awareness contributes to grapheme-to-phoneme associations
30 Minute Phonics Routine in Reception/ Prep/ Kindergarten
- Explicit Instruction - Every student works through the 4 Code Levels at their pace, and the 400+ high frequency words.
1/Speedy Solo or Paired Code Mapping - 2/ Coding Poster Video Lessons - 3/ Coding Poster - HFW words
If parents have access to the free SSP resource page they can support their child with all of these activities! Especially the Speedy Sight Words.
Education is about enhancing learning, and neuroscience is about understanding the mental processes involved in learning. The emerging field of educational neuroscience presents opportunities to develop a common language and bridge the gulf between educators, psychologists and neuroscientists. The goal? To develop a single, unified, Science of Reading; a world in which at least 95% of children start high school being able to say 'I Can Read Without You' as they are fluent readers of written English.
Although we know what skilled readers do, the HOW of getting them to the 'orthographic mapping' stage is not currently 'working' for at least 25% of children - even in the UK, where phonics instruction and screening/ testing has been mandatory for over a decade. More effective orthographic awareness and learning is needed! Explicit instruction should lead to implicit learning as quickly as possible for each child.
'Less Teaching, More Learning'
'Miss Emma' aka The Reading Whisperer
Why is the systematic, explicit phonics so fast paced, and differentiated for each learner?
Because so much more is needed, if children are to become skilled readers; explicit phonics is simply used to kick-start the process!
Most of the learning is implicit.
In addition to the 30 Minute Routine SSP teachers run Snap and Crack (vocabulary knowledge and comprehension) Rapid Writing (spelling, grammar and punctuation within authentic text writing) the Speedy Six Spelling activities (Orthography, Morphology, Vocabulary Knowledge) and when ready they can run LinguaLit.
The first Code Mapping® Tool in the world displays words as segmented graphemes (aligned with the IPA) is now included in the ICRWY Lessons app for parents (App Store and Google Play) $5.50 per month for 2 devices. The English Spelling Code made visible!
Code Mapping® was developed initially for Miss Emma's dyslexic learners, to show them something they found difficult to master ie the mapping of phonemes to graphemes - visual and linguistic phonics- orthographic awareness and learning!
As poor phonemic awareness is the hallmark of dyslexia she also created Speech Sound Monsters®, which show students the phonemes they may struggle to hear - phonemes made visible... Monster Mapping®!
Non-verbal students use the Speech Sound Monsters to show the phonemes they can't easily - or choose not to - articulate. Miss Emma designs everything to include neurodivergent learners; NeuroReadies
Visible English - Reading and Spelling in English becomes easier to understand!
The brain looks for patterns and consistencies. Hebbian Learning attempts to connect the psychological and neurological underpinnings of learning. ‘neurons that fire together in time will wire themselves up. And the more often a set of neurons fire together, the more likely it is that they will fire again together and form an easier and easier representation so it will be easier and easier to get that set of neurons to fire off together and wire up together.'
It's believed at this point that the firing together of information in time will bind that information together and say, 'okay this is a chunk of information which is occurring on a regular basis statistically in your environment, it must be important - pull that together and make it easier for your brain to respond to it'. And we think that has something to do with the basic units in which the brain is going to perceive the phonological building blocks of language.'
The phonics instruction within the 4 Code Levels is limiting, in that only the commonly used graphemes are used. This is the 'kick start' orthographic learning - which is highly effective, for most children. However it is vital that they ALSO go 'speech to print' - and can only really do this if they know what the word is, or they are shown the sound value - eg with the use of phonetic symbols (too difficult to learn for kids already struggling with phonics) - so use the Speech Sound Monsters. They can also then work together with those who do know the words.This is ground-breaking. We are developing a new and more unified science of reading.
'We are PASSIONATE about
students learning to read for pleasure!'
SSP- the explicit, systematic, linguistic (& visual) phonics instruction ‘program’ designed for those who learn differently; unlocking access to orthographic learning for at least 95% in any neurodiverse classroom.
Explicit instruction is multisensory, engaging, differentiated and quickly replaced with implicit learning. Everything revolves around understanding individual needs, and so there are no scripted lessons!
Teachers need to understand reading brains, not follow pre-planned generic lessons for neurotypical leaners.
‘Less teaching, more learning’ is our mantra. Tech is our friend. Acceptance, independence & empowerment guides the learning road map - and this applies to teachers. If teachers don't feel understood how can they thrive?
'Oh Miss Emma you are amazing
We just had a parent teacher with Rory's teacher...wow, wow, wow is all I can say. When we last saw her she said he was totally disengaged in any activity literacy based, did not actively participate in group discussions, gross motor skills were lacking, basically had no confidence in anything but numbers and colours. We started the pilot just after that meeting.
Tonight we met with her again and we were simply blown away!! His development has amazed his teacher and not just in literacy it's been across the board. She said she is now a believer in what we've been doing with him at home, I told her I can provide her with details if she would like join in the SSP fun
Thank you so much, you have given Rory so much I don't know how we can ever thank you enough you truly are a gem xx'
ICRWY Lessons Apps for Pre-Schoolers (2 - 5 year olds)
Miss Emma teaches the lessons in the ICRWY Lessons app!
Important Note: The Speech Sound Pics Approach (SSP) does include the DfE Essential Core Criteria' for Systematic, Synthetic Phonics, but it is a dyslexia-inclusive systematic and explicit kickstart to orthographic learning that rapidly moves into self-regulation, motivation to explore with GSF and the ability to read with understanding (a focus on oral and written language) via implicit learning. SSP aligns more with the more comprehensive 'Active View' of Reading than the Simple View of Reading.