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Reading for Pleasure - The DIFFERENT Reading Framework
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The Reading Hut - A Focus on the Child

My name is Emma Hartnell-Baker, the Neurodivergent 'Reading Whisperer' and 'Duck Hands Lady'! I offer Speech Sound Mapping Therapy and design Ortho-Graphix products and services.
 

After over two decades working in education, I’m so concerned for children entering the system and finding it difficult to learn to read—not because they are unable, but because of how they are taught.


This is especially true for children with speech and language challenges or who are neurodivergent. I’m seeking funding to offer ‘Discovery Screening’ sessions for all three-year-olds, similar to vision and hearing checks. We assess their risk factors before they start being taught with synthetic phonics programs and again at four, before starting school. We ensure that everyone in their lives understands our focus: phoneme articulation and phonemic awareness (not the content previously covered in Letters and Sounds Phase 1 or larger speech sound units such as syllables or onset and rime; for discussion, see Brady 2000, Reading Rockets 2023). The Phonemic Awareness Mastery (PAM) Program is ideal for those children who we predict will face reading difficulties.

We send them to school with the phonemic awareness that will reduce their risk. Before the pandemic, the DfE reported that one in four children were starting school without phonemic awareness—it will be much worse now. And, of course, we all know that at least one in four leave primary school unable to read at minimum levels, even though many who did ‘pass’ the tests had parents who paid for outside tutoring. The number of children reading for pleasure is at the lowest level in almost two decades.
 

I’ve had over a decade of supporting school-wide literacy improvement, and ‘reading for pleasure’ was how, as a team, we turned things around. But the journey is not easy—and not for the reasons you’d think. Far too many get in the way of change. Our primary focus is that children feel excited about spoken and written English and that they know how absolutely awesome they are as individuals.


"The most common source of reading difficulties is poor phonemic awareness."

  • David A. Kilpatrick, Ph.D.

It’s the core issue faced by students diagnosed as dyslexic.


I can accurately predict which children are more likely to be failed, and as children instantly connect with me, I can figure out what they need and how to ensure that they thrive. Ideally, I find them at age three and surround their people with the support needed to immunise them against reading difficulties by sending them to school with good phonemic awareness (Avery, a just-turned-three-year-old, is happily blending the monster sounds/phonemies, so even before he starts learning graphemes, we know he won’t be failed).

He can do what’s needed to be able to learn phonics. Ironically, if taught with a validated synthetic phonics program, he won’t ever learn to accurately decode seven of these words. Do you know which ones? It won’t matter. He just turned three and completed the Phonemic Awareness Mastery (PAM) program at two. So, before he turns four and starts school, he’ll already be an avid reader. By 'following the monster sounds,' he knows the words and can then understand which graphemes map to those phonemes in that word. It is a unique way to expose children to an opaque orthography.
 

Inclusion is not just my career; it’s my passion. As a neurodivergent woman and mother, I am determined to root out the children most likely to face difficulties within an education system that needs to be changed. We can’t wait for that change. Who better to tackle the literacy crisis faced by so many neurodivergent children than a neurodivergent 'speech sound mapping' therapist with a proven track record of connecting with every child? That connection, combined with an understanding of why children face difficulties learning to read, is a powerful and highly valuable combination.

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The earlier we screen children and identify those who need help, the sooner we can support them and become part of their village.

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I have a track record of supporting whole school literacy improvement in Australia. Phonemic Awareness Mastery (Phase 1 of the Speech Sound Pics (SSP) Approach) is taken very seriously there.
 

Phonemic awareness is the leading cause of reading difficulties, and we identify the 'at risk' children in Phase 1. They receive extra help early.
 

As synthetic phonics is used in the UK, I am (at present) only releasing PAM for school-aged children. This will enable most to then learn with synthetic phonics.

My main focus is the screening of 3-year-olds, with plans to roll this out nationally.

Here is a fabulous 5-year-old autistic child I had the pleasure of meeting while supporting a Gold Coast school many years ago, in Australia. He was able to develop phonemic awareness (Phase 1) and learn to read before the end of the year. He became obsessed with my Spelling Cloud Keyring. All spelling choices for each 'monster sound' are shown.
We are pattern seekers!

Phonemic Awareness Mastery (PAM) in Reception: Before Phonics 

In a classroom setting in week 1, the Phonemic Awareness Mastery (PAM) Programme (no letters) is introduced. By the end of the week, Phase 1 is completed for most. This focus changes everything—they are now ABLE to learn phonics. As children taught in government-funded schools have to use synthetic phonics, my goal is to send all children to school ABLE to learn to read and spell with synthetic phonics programmes.

However, by implementing 'Discovery Screening' at ages 3 and 4, we can be even more proactive, and 'catch' more children before they fail. We can  start to collect and analyse data for the education department and begin to ascertain trends—e.g., how this data aligns with their phonics screener check results and later SAT outcomes. Simply by being aware of what phonemic awareness is, parents and teachers can take action after the first session, regardless of whether they choose PAM.

This shows it in action in a classroom setting. I trained thousands of teachers for over a decade across Australia.

 

Teachers in Australia using the Speech Sound Pics (SSP) Approach take this Phonemic Awareness Mastery phase really seriously. Duck Hands, Lines and Numbers (the spelling routine) becomes part of daily life, and continues throughout the primary grades.
Although 20 - 40% start reception (Prep) without the phonemic awareness they need to learn phonics by the end of week 1this has reduced dramatically. Trained TAs then give those 'learners of concern' extra support. Mastery is monitored by a specialist and data tracked. We have been doing this for over ten years. We introduce graphemes at the end of week 1. This makes the transition so much easier, and we really get to know the children as individuals!

Tracking PAM data.

The transition to 'Sound Pics'
(graphemes) is quick and easy when children have phonemic awareness as they simply 'follow the monster sounds to say the word' with letters, as they did during Phase 1 (PAM)

Hundreds of child-centric, passionate early years and SEN teachers getting ready for PAM in Week 1 of Reception! Learning to use 'Duck Hands' together! Duck Hands, (Speech Sound) Lines and (Speech Sound) Numbers are vital, for speedy phonemic awareness mastery. Teachers had fun learning the Monster Spelling Routine. 

Miss Emma

I was honoured to have been invited to support so many schools over the years.

The approach is embedded school wide
(KS2 equivalent)

Used for intervention in high school 

I trained thousands of teachers to use 'different' (innovative and neuro-inclusive) strategies eg to improve spelling skills and the fluency and comprehension of slow decoders - to more easily store words in their 'brain word bank'.

Phonemes have unlocked language and literacy learning for young people with learning disabilities. Up to that point, these gorgeous teens had been failed in so many ways, but when their teachers knew more, they could offer them more. They still send me 'monster messages' :-)

Oops some of the monsters are wrong here. Naughty Speech Sound Frog 

Speech Sound Mapping Therapy - Emma Hartnell-Baker

The 'learning to read for pleasure' journey starts with PAM, with a focus on reducing cognitive load ie phonemes first (before graphemes) For some children only a few hours are needed, some (like Alf) need a lot more.  

To bypass the lack of teacher training and awareness around phonemic awareness (and why this specific aspect of phonological awareness matters) and the IPA, I am developing a range of tech solutions that children can quickly use independently after working through PAM. Parents and Early Years teachers can follow the PAM handbook and join a support group. They will be able to go from 'speech to print' and also from 'print to speech' and have fun mapping words without constraints. Phonemic awareness is key.
The graphemes don't really matter at first, even though we embed the monsters within them (so that when they are ready, they start to take notice)

 

I will be designing teacher training courses so that teachers and tutors can deliver PAM here in the UK, whihc is part of the Speech Sound Pics (SSP) Approach. It would be easier in Australia as there are so many amazing and highly skilled Speech Sound Pics (SSP) Approach teachers, but 'Speech Sound Monsters' are a totally new concept to UK teachers as they link with IPA phonetic symbols rather than graphemes. At this point, due to DfE recommendations around how phonics be taught, I am not launching the SSP approach here for KS1 classrooms because it is not 'synthetic phonics'. 

For a 1:1 Speech Sound Therapy learning package, delivered by myself over 4 weeks with EHC-funded students, this equates to at least 20 hours of my time and includes the resources used. My doctoral work centres around 'Orthographic Interference': most skilled readers (who may be teaching phonics) cannot accurately map an alarming number of everyday words that children use in KS1. This skill is vital if they are to help children develop phonemic and orthographic awareness and transition towards orthographic mapping. My doctoral work also focuses on 'Screen and Intervene' strategies for teachers tasked with teaching phonics.

To train teachers to deliver PAM, I ideally need them to learn alongside me and also understand the latest research relating to why so many children struggle to learn to read. I am looking for some very special people to help me support more school-aged children. This is why early screening of 3-year-olds matters so much: we can avoid the issues so many children in England currently face. 

The journey towards 'orthographic mapping' (reading without conscious effort) is different for each child because we are building on their schema. It starts with Phonemic Awareness Mastery and transitions to Orthographic Awareness and the development of Orthographic Knowledge.
 

Avery (just turned 3) would understand the content in the clip shown below, but not necessarily an 8-year-old who has been learning with print-to-speech (synthetic) phonics. After phonemic awareness 'Discovery Screening', children work through their own Phonemic Awareness Mastery Program, which transitions to include Sound Pics (graphemes). I design this program based on each child’s needs. Clips like this (below) are also used to train adults. Even though they may seem as if designed for children, I prefers to train in this way as it is easier for adults to apply new learning directly to their child or student. I gives 'the grown-ups' what they need when they need it, just as I want parents to learn to do with their child.


Many children simply need the Phonemic Awareness Program (PAM) and will then be able to learn to read with a traditional phonics approach. Phonemic awareness—the ability to identify, segment, and blend speech sounds—is the magic ingredient. The learning journey is designed around the child, and their age (and any learning differences) impacts this design. It is easier to start when children are babies as there is no 'rush' to phonics or to read fluently.

This is, in part, why we are seeking grant funding to roll out phonemic awareness Discovery Screening sessions with 3-year-olds, whom we again check at 4 before they start school. By identifying at-risk children, we can give parents (and their EY teachers/childminders) the information and support they need as we predict they will have difficulties learning to read when they start school and are going to have to learn with synthetic phonics (if they attend a government-maintained school). As 1 in 4 children start Reception without phonemic awareness, and 1 in 4 leave primary school unable to read at minimum levels, this early prediction of difficulties is vital. 
 

Young children with EHC plans can request Phonemic Awareness Screening to identify a range of related factors and a Phonemic Awareness Mastery program if there are identified risks, ideally delivered by a Speech Sound Mapping Therapist. All children later diagnosed with dyslexia have poor phonemic awareness. Identifying this deficit early and sending them to school with phonemic awareness changes lives for children who learn differently. This is also applicable to autistic children, as they will gravitate towards 'Miss Emma' in Speech Sound Cloud Land and the Phonemies (called Speech Sound Monsters as 'Phonemies can be hard to pronounce) and those with ADHD as it is fast-paced and multisensory. The Speech Sound Monsters are also used across Australia by speech therapists as standalone therapy for children with speech delays and verbal dyspraxia. The monsters are alternatives to phonetic symbols.

Children in Dorset with EHC Funding

At the Reading Hut we recommend Discovery Screening for any children with EHCP funding who are struggling to learn to read with synthetic phonics (e.g., Alf). They are allocated funding, and this offers an exceptionally high value rate of return.
 

Within the 3 x 50-minute Speech Sound Mapping therapy sessions (in one week), I get to know them, screen for existing phonemic awareness, teach them some activities (e.g., Duck Hands, the sounds each monster makes, and how to 'follow the monster sounds to say the word'), and then write a risk report. The costs (£1200) should be covered by funding, and not the parents. Parents can purchase the PAM at Home program, or ask that their nursery or school order it, and we have made this accessible, price wise. PAM Basic is sold as a pack and includes a teacher guide. The new 'Phonemies' support group will enable those supporting a child, and using the kit, to ask questions at any time! I will also be running parent and teacher workshops and can be booked for in-service training around PAM within any setting (including Reception - mainstream - week 1) The PAM program is the intro to concepts that will be covered when children learn phonics, but presented in a way all will understand, and facilitate phonemic awareness.    
 

If warranted, i.e., identified as high risk, the child with EHC funding (currently only available to those in Dorset) who has undertaken Discovery Screening continues for a further 3 weeks—with an anticipated 3 sessions per week—to work through the Phonemic Awareness Mastery Program. This costs £2500, including the initial £1200. It is VITAL that this learning block is within a short time frame, to optimise learning and build confidence, and because the bond between the Speech Sound Mapping therapist and pupil becomes integral to its success. They are 'learning to learn' about the connection between spoken and written English. 
 

The sessions are recorded, for that child's educational purposes only, and referred to within the final report (and are intended to offer 'getting started' training). I can continue to support the child, or parents/teachers can take over and book catch-up sessions as needed. The next steps - following PAM - are available, and aligned with the success of the Speech Sound Pics (SSP) Approach in Australia. The I Can Read Without You (ICRWY) lessons app has 300+ step-by-step linguistic phonics lessons and includes everything in a synthetic phonics program but with more scaffolding and a greater emphasis on discovering connections from a 'speech to print' approach (synthetic phonics tends to focus on print to speech). The suite of 150 '1,2,3 and Away!' books are included; orthographically mapped.  
 

However, the goal of working through the Phonemic Awareness Mastery (PAM) Program with a Speech Sound Mapping Therapist is to enable children at risk of reading difficulties to learn with synthetic phonics in UK schools if needed. Most teachers have no choice at this time. Phonemic awareness - taught explicitly in this way - lifts the learning block that was preventing them from understanding it. At least 1 in 4 children will need this extra support. The dream is that schools become interested, even if the DfE mandates synthetic phonics. Schools with high numbers of children who start with speech and language difficulties will love this approach! Parents and teachers can add in 'Duck Hands, Lines and Numbers' to their existing program.  
 

The children—all children—love the Speech Sound Monsters. As unfamiliar to UK teachers they may initially scream 'cognitive overload!' - in the same way that children feel when faced with an opaque orthography. But once you understand the Speech Sound Monsters (Phonemies) simply represent speech sounds (phonemes) and allow children to FIRST figure out the word and THEN map the graphemes to those sounds, you will see that they REDUCE the load. As in Australia, the goal will be that parents can find other Speech Sound Mapping therapist and connect: building a network of specialists will also help to create more neuro-affirming spaces. SAI Spaces will be designed for that purpose. We do not wait for children to find learning to read and spell difficulty, as taught with one-size-fits-all programs that tend to be designed by and for neurotypical teachers and students. Now, as a society, we are more aware of learning differences we face the reality that the education system may not be 'fit for purpose', if equality, diversity and inclusion is valued.

This is Alf, a kind and funny 8-year-old autistic boy who was not learning to read with synthetic phonics, despite having lovely teachers who work tirelessly to support him. When teachers of children with learning differences know more, they can do more. His parents had reached out to me to see if I had an ideas that would specifically help their boy. They then wanted that to be included in his EHC plan. Educational Psychologists will understand the value of this 'speech sound mapping therapy' and the importance of re-engagement with phonemes at a starting point they understand. It's all about their schema and learning sweet spot! I am humbled to have been given the opportunity to support him. This clip is of a visit to his school, where I wanted his learning support teachers to see how we would work together. It was only the second time I have met him, and it was so much fun! Our neuro-minds connected:-)     

Had I met Alf at 3, he would have been reading before starting school. That early investment in my time and skill—unlocking the reading code—is priceless on so many levels.

What price would you put on saving Alf the mental anguish of going through primary school unable to read and spell? Would you support Discovery Screening Sessions for all 3-year-olds? Free to parents and carers? Let's make it happen.

 

This is Luca, labelled as 'severely dyslexic' in his school reports. His lovely parents had reached the end of primary school when his aunt - an old friend - asked if I could help. She said they felt as though they have tried everything - including out-of-school tutoring. The initial 'Discovery Screening' sessions left me broken-hearted. What a bright, fantastic young man he was! A joy to spend time with—even via Zoom. I needed to overcome the phonemic awareness deficits and help him 'unlearn' some confusing 'rules' he had been taught about the written code. He was being sent home with 'decodable readers' used in KS1, and it seemed that despite failing to learn to read and spell with synthetic phonics, the additional support still centred around even more of it, just on a 1:1 basis or in small groups, or with the tutor. So many people had wanted to help.
 

However, he was learning 'keywords' by memorising them and ignoring the phoneme-to-grapheme correspondence. This approach robbed him of developing phonemic and orthographic awareness and the ability to store words in the brain's word bank (orthographic lexicon). Instead of focusing on the 100 or so grapheme-to-phoneme correspondences taught within these synthetic phonics programmes, he needed to explore the WHOLE code. High-frequency words (called 'exception words' in the UK for some reason) are a brilliant way to do that! It's why our reception (Prep) aged children in Australia can read and spell over 400 of these words before they start Year 1.

And it's so easy—just put on the video lessons in the I Can Read Without You app! 150 of these words are being added to the Spelling Piano app, which is being rebuilt. It can be used offline, making it great for areas with limited WiFi connectivity.

Frustratingly, it took a LOT of hoop jumping to request that Luca be permitted to go to school late (by 9.30am) so I could support him at his home via Zoom (we live hundreds of miles apart). I persisted as Luca needed, and deserved Speech Sound Mapping therapy, and my time. Children like Luca will connect with me instantly - they WANT to learn to read with me. I am in awe of their resilience.  

Despite being in grade 6 Luca was given these as 'readers' - which he would read over and over. Can you even imagine what this feels like? 
As I needed him to understand the mapping (orthographically) of a lot of high frequency words within meaningful context I used The Village With Three Corners. The Reading Hut are proud publishing rights holders. 
The series of 150 books are being mapped, and added to the new 'clickable library': Don't Stress! Don't Guess!
Click when YOU need to click.   

I needed to focus on phonemic awareness and develop routines so that orthographic knowledge could develop more logically and mathematically
(rather than relying on memorising or guessing at words)

I had to make the Universal Code 'visible'.

The approach I take, when teaching phonics, is 'visual' and linguistic'

We focus on Speech Sound (phonemes) and the 'pictures' of those Speech Sounds (Sound Pics)

He picked it up quickly. Super star!

Had I met Luca at 3, he would have been reading before starting school. Again, that early investment in my time and skill—unlocking the reading code—is priceless on so many levels.

What price would you put on saving Luca the mental anguish of going through primary school unable to read and spell?

Would you help us roll out Discovery Screening Sessions for all 3-year-olds? Free to parents and carers? Can YOU help uss make it happen? Get in touch! We need a village, to better support children who learn differently.

When delivering training for PATOSS teachers told us they want new ideas!  

"I work for the British Dyslexia Association to support specialist assessors in their professional practice.

I am passionate about removing barriers to learning so that individuals with dyscalculia feel supported to achieve their goals and reach their full potential."

Dr Grace Elliott

Dr. Grace Elliott and I met at the University of Reading where she was presenting her research findings. 'Dr. Grace' is an experienced teacher, teacher trainer and assessor with APC, ATS, PG Cert SENCO and AMBDA. After completing a MSc at Oxford University focusing on dyslexia, Grace went on to study for a PhD to further research the causes of poor reading comprehension and the most effective interventions for poor comprehenders.
We soon realised we shared the same passion for SEN and inclusion. I have a Masters Degree in SEN from Nottingham University and am in my fourth year of doctoral studies.
We knew that we had to work together on projects that could support as many SpLD teachers and children who learn differently as possible.  
Dr Grace is now the British Dyslexia Association Practice Manager, and on maternity leave! As she is dyslexic she is keen to ensure that her own children are given the best start in life, and I can't wait to start Speech Sound Mapping with her little girl! We have registered a not-for-profit company to share information about dyslexia, and to fund free early screening. Dr Grace Elliott offers Dyslexia, Dyscalculia and ADHD assessments in Hampshire 
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The success of Speech Sound Mapping Therapy lies not only in what we facilitate (learning) but also in how we do it. To do this really well, the child needs to love, love, love their therapist.

We absolutely adore our students and cherish everything that makes them unique.
Speech Sound Mapping Therapy centres around the child.

The Speech Sound Mapping Theory posits that with a visual hook for a phoneme (Speech Sound Monsters) and accelerated phonemic awareness, along with visual and linguistic phonics (Speech Sound Pics), all children will be motivated to reach the 'self-teaching' and, therefore, 'orthographic mapping' phases earlier and with greater autonomy.

 

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In the UK 'synthetic phonics' is mandated, and as phonics, taught explicitly and systematically within the Speech Sound Pics (SSP) Approach is 'linguistic and visual' (not synthetic) I am therefore focused, primarily, on launching the Phonemic Awareness Mastery Program here, to focus on Phoneme Articulation and Phonemic Awareness. However, by knowing each 'monster sound' and with phonemic awareness (they can blend them together and also choose the right monster sounds when spelling words) they can continue at home with the 'monster mapped' tech and resources, figuring out unfamiliar words and THEN mapping the correct graphemes to those speech sounds. This will supplement their classroom learning experiences. I will also train professionals to deliver Speech Sound Mapping Therapy.

The phonemic awareness developed within PAM facilitates this new learning of phonics - however phonics is then taught. Not just because they develop phonemic awareness but because they quickly understand that the 'sounds' are specific ones (the Universal Spelling Code) - they are the Speech Sound King's 'sounds'.
 If they play different sounds the written word will not appear. They can 'see' and also 'hear' the connections that may not be as obvious when learning at school.

In Australia the teachers have the Speech Sound Puppets in classrooms

Says 'sdop' 

Says 'monsdz' 

Demonstrates learning
(voice now British)

If children only really focus on /æ/ as in 'sat', then what happens when it maps with the other 8 sounds? With good phonemic awareness, it only takes 1-4 exposures to store the word in their orthographic lexicon for instant recognition (reading) and retrieval (spelling). They are shown the spelling, know the sounds, so just make sure they know what the word means! Simple. This is why we are working on a 'clickable' library: children can click to access this information as and when needed.
Note: within the PSC only 2 are checked (/a/ as in sat and /a/ as in father)

 

Gifted, autistic children and those with ADHD find this way of learning exciting.
They WANT to read!
They become 'readies' 

A Message from Rory's Mum.

When our eldest son was in Grade 3 he was diagnosed with dyslexia. Unfortunately by then the damage was done, his reading age was assessed as being below the age of six (he was 8.5 at the time). The most heart-breaking part of his journey was the devastating effect it had on his self-esteem.

 

The educational psychologist at the time introduced me to the Speech Sound Pics SSP approach, which turned out to be life-changing! Under Miss Emma's guidance, we cleared the slate and started his journey again at home after school. He warmed very quickly to the approach and in just five weeks he had increased six reading levels. I am extremely proud to announce that he is now in Grade 6 and reading at grade level!! In fact, he is doing so well that in his LP meeting recently I was questioned whether he even had a learning disability.
 

This brings us to Rory, our youngest. From a young age, he showed signs of possessing the same strengths and weaknesses as his older brother. Not willing to sit back and watch him suffer the same fate we jumped at the chance to be part of the ICRWY 'Monster Mapping' pilot, he was two months shy of his fifth birthday at the time.

Now at six, he is doing so well, this video is proof of that. This is Rory reading his home reader to me. So proud and so very grateful for Miss Emma and her innovative ideas and approach.

Speech Sound Monsters in classrooms (huts) with no electricity, internet or qualified teachers.
Monster Mapping is fun anywhere!  I am working on tech that enables children to learn to read and write in English anywhere. 

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The Reading Hut : Cracking the Reading Code


Transforming the way children learn to read for pleasure by PREVENTING difficulties learning to read. Difficulties are a passion killer! Our suite of tech solutions offer young minds a more direct route to mastering the reading code. We are connecting spoken and written English from birth, using language as an extension of who they are as individuals - how they speak, what they like to speak about, what they want to hear about! 

This means using phonemic awareness screening as the starting point. How can we plan their learning journey if we don't understand their starting points? Screen and Intervene (SAI) is at the heart of personalised learning and the development of the DIFFERENT Reading Framework. Screening for phoneme (speech sound) articulation and phonemic awareness is an innovative and highly effective way to prevent learning difficulties. By focusing on ensuring that children start school with phonemic awareness we know - from decades of research - that they are 'ready' to learn about letters, and how the 26 letters of the alphabet are used, in different combinations, to represent speech sounds on paper and learn with phonics. If a child at school is struggling to learn the read with phonics they may need to undertake our Phonemic Awareness Mastery (PAM) Program and then go back to it.    


We are dedicated to shifting perceptions around teaching all children, including those who may have dyslexic, ADHD and are autistic, to read for pleasure. Our mission centres on understanding each child's unique needs and interests to create a truly personalised reading journey. This journey will not be smooth sailing without phonemic awareness. We believe that every child deserves a tailored approach that prioritises their needs above all else, fostering a genuine love for reading. This is why our focus is on phonemic awareness - before the introduction to letters. It means we can start the process when they are toddlers. If they understand a dog says 'woof' thy understand the concept of the Phonemies (monsters) saying a speech sound.  
 

At The Reading Hut Ltd, we emphasise the importance of knowing each child deeply to design an effective reading journey. We understand that children are individuals with distinct preferences, strengths, and challenges. Our approach is rooted in the principles of equality, diversity, and inclusion, ensuring that every child, regardless of their learning differences, can experience the joy of reading. This means that even when they all start school with good phonemic awareness we are in a better position to shifting perceptions around the need for whole-class programmes, to focus on what interests and motivates each child as they explore the connections between spoken and written language.
 

We believe that the child's needs take precedence over all else. By focusing on what interests and motivates them, we can create engaging, relevant, and enjoyable reading experiences while ensuring that they develop the phonemic and orthographic awareness, vocabulary knowledge, fluency, and comprehension skills needed to read. Our innovative methods and technology enable us to assess and respond to each child's phonemic awareness, speech sound articulation, and working memory from an early age. This early intervention is crucial for setting the foundation for successful reading skills. Our tech also enables children to develop orthographic knowledge – from speech-to-print and print-to-speech – in a totally unique way. Indeed, this is HOW we are able to personalise these journeys. Many are avid readers before they start school. 
 

Our commitment to a child-centred approach and evidence-based solutions means we move away from one-size-fits-all programmes: phonics is an essential element of learning to read, but can we more effectively personalise the way taught? We develop phonemic awareness and also bespoke reading journeys that adapt to the child's evolving needs and interests, from a very early age. By doing so, we not only support their academic growth but also nurture their emotional and social development. Although our focus is currently on the early years, as we grow we aim to transform the future of reading education in schools globally, ensuring that every child has the opportunity to become a passionate, lifelong reader. The secret to that change will be to focus on building the new!

Speech Sound Monsters
The Secret of Change..

Leading experts in learning difficulties and differences come together to create innovative tech-based screening solutions that facilitate bespoke intervention and acceleration programmes for individuals.
Our differences are our strengths.

Screen and Intervene from The Reading Hut - the Different Reading Framework

Without Phonemic Awareness, children will struggle to understand the links with letters and would have to rely on memorising words as whole words—the traditional way to teach 'sight words'—if they cannot understand the speech sound (phoneme) to spelling correspondence. Children cannot memorise enough words for this to be a reliable long-term strategy. Speech Sound Mapping facilitates this for ALL words because we focus on phonemic awareness and making the connections visible. We teach 'visible' and 'linguistic' phonics. The GPC correspondence order may be the same, when the Speech Sound Pics approach is used in classrooms, but we can also explore other words—e.g., high-frequency words and words of interest to the child—at the same time. They don't need to wait to reach a certain point within the program 'Scope and Sequence' *start storing new words. Research by Linnea Ehri and others has demonstrated that effective phonemic awareness, combined with the connection of sounds, spellings, and meanings of words, facilitates the storage of words in the orthographic lexicon with only 1- 4 exposures. This process, known as orthographic mapping, is crucial for developing sight word recognition and fluent reading.
It cannot happen without good phonemic awareness.

Kensi (aged 3)  is using her Duck Hands to reinforce the speech sound to spelling connection

Speech Sound Pics (SSP) Approach
Scope and Sequence for Emma Hartnell-Baker's Visual and Linguistic Phonics Program used across Australia
It has not been launched in the UK as it is not a synthetic phonics programme 

What's the goal? Reading for Pleasure!

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Wooden Picket Fence
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