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What do parents and teachers think of the Speech Sound

Pics (SSP) Approach?

Glen Osmond Primary School Garry North

South Australia



Although personal stories are anecdotal, when a huge number of people are saying the same thing, it can be worthy of consideration and exploration.  Anecdotal evidence can be defined as testimony that something is true, false, related, or unrelated based on isolated examples of someone's personal experience. It is distinctly different from scientific evidence, or proof based on findings from systematic observation, measurement, and experimentation.

However, in the world of literacy, we are able to also see whether anecdotal accounts correlate with hard data. For example through nationwide standardised testing. In Australia this may be NAPLAN, or PM benchmarking.  

Parents are more likely to judge progress according to the 'Code Levels', and aligned 'decodable readers'. They can see their child working through the scope and sequence.


"This is my experience over three years of SSP in a school with 72% EALD and each year two or three children beginning the year with no English.
Children began school as long as they were turning five by 30 April, so some started at four years old. Always more boys than girls, as in most classes, and all the usual disabilities, learning difficulties, behaviour issues, under guardianship etc.
Average PM level at the end of the reception year was steady between 17 and 18. Around one-third of each class reached Blue Level, reached the highest PM level tested (25) and could recognise, read and spell all 450 or so Oxford List words (mandated check by school) by year's end.
I worried about those students who did not reach PM 15 by year's end.

Students at my current (different) school undertook the UK Phonics check as part of a pilot in South Australia.
In 2018 only 51% passed, and so I supported the introduction and implementation of SSP. After using the approach for 7 months testing was undertaken again in South Australia. This time students achieved an 85% pass. The average was 34 correct answers out of 40. Gains within learning support were as impressive. 
 The approach is now being used school wide."

Teacher in South Australia

My school is in **** ********** and we’ve been using SSP with amazing success since the end of 2014. I’m more than happy to chat (in the support group) and share our results. We don’t use PMs until they are working in the Blue level, but we see an average of PM 17-18 by the end of Kinder. Student phonemic awareness and ability to decode texts is amazing - no guessing strategies etc.

Teacher in NSW 

It is also interesting to learn why teachers chose to use the Speech sound Pics (SSP) Approach

I found SSP as a Reading Recovery teacher who was questioning the way I was being taught. I knew there had to be more than the 3 cueing system. I found Miss Emma! I started teaching the children in my class with the poster and with Fitzroy Decodable Texts. It had a profound effect in a low socioeconomic school. I no longer allow anyone in my room to answer “how do I spell .....?” I teach them to say “what can you hear?”
Students that struggled soon understood that all the answers were in the word and they started to crack the code.
I see a lot of information around now about the Science of Reading and I nod in agreement thinking Yes, that’s what Miss Emma says.
Th/a/n/k Y/ou M/i/ss E/mm/a

My son struggled in his first year in primary school due to his dyslexia, he has since started the SSP program with Ms Rosser in his second year in school. My mind is blown at how much his reading and writing has improved in a few short months. Last week I recorded him reading a book on his own for the first time. His confidence is soaring and he now enjoys both school and doing homework. The ssp lessons have made an enormous impact on him.”


Tania Rosser