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Code Mapping® English Words


Orthographic Mapping
(Code Mapping) Tool for Parents & Tutors is in the ICRWY Lessons app
- 2 devices (email for other options)


The Orthographic Mapping Tool (Code Mapping English Words) offers a visual representation of the 'grapheme to phoneme' correspondences in words, aligned with the British IPA. This segmentation can be incredibly difficult for students with poor phonemic awareness, for example dyslexic students, and so the ability to map words using the tool offers useful guidance.

As those who use 'orthographic mapping' are often not aware of the processes occurring quickly and effortlessly the tool can also help teachers to 'see' what they have already mastered, and discuss the complexities of an opaque orthography that cannot be explicitly taught - there are over 300 correspondences. Use the Spelling Clouds to show all correspondences as a Speech Sound Wall - resources published by The Reading Hut. 

A theory of how children progress through different phases of reading should be an asset to parents and teachers; they can monitor and structure the stage of progress of the developing reader. This is easier with a tool that helps them to see the grapheme to phoneme correspondences. Training is offered to schools and also adapted for parents, in order that they may better support their children at home. 

Orthographic Mapping can be considered the final 'phase' of reading, that takes place without conscious thought. In literacy, orthography refers to writing words with the proper letters in the correct order according to accepted usage. Fluent reading requires you to have orthographic recognition; accurate spelling requires you to have orthographic recall. 

Orthographic mapping is the process competent readers use to store written words so that in future encounters with that word or similar letter strings they are able to automatically recall that word or letter string without needing to go through the decoding process again. In this sense, a 'sight word' is one that is instantly recognised. When a word is (phonics) decoded, which can only occur with good phonemic awareness (awareness of the smallest units of spoken sounds in the word) and well-developed 'code knowledge' the student can link this to other similar word patterns already stored in long-term memory.

 Orthographic mapping (OM) involves the formation of letter-sound connections to bond the spellings, pronunciations, and meanings of specific words in memory. It explains how children learn to read words by sight, to spell words from memory, and to acquire vocabulary words from print. This development is portrayed by Ehri (2005a) as a sequence of overlapping phases, each characterized by the predominant type of connection linking spellings of words to their pronunciations in memory. During development, the connections improve in quality and word-learning value, from visual non-alphabetic, to partial alphabetic, to full grapho-phonemic, to consolidated grapho-syllabic and grapho-morphemic.
OM is enabled by phonemic awareness and grapheme-phoneme knowledge. 


We also use 'Monster Mapping' when teaching reading and spelling, to promote orthographic awareness and speed up orthographic learning 

Neurodiversity is the concept that brain differences are natural variations – not deficits, disorders or impairments.

Understanding my neurodivergent brain - new book from Emma Hartnell-Baker
What is Code Mapping?

Not only did these children 'benchmark' to above-expected levels, in a matter of weeks, they started to apply this new knowledge to their writing. We can teach constrained skills eg phonics and HFWs using Code Mapped resources, and a 'spaced repetition' approach. Get the ICRWY app and SSP Spelling Piano app nd do this at home! 
Publishers can request that their books are Code Mapped to offer this version to their users. They are offering orthographically mapped texts - an amazing resource!
You write them- we'll map them! 

 According to 2019 National Curriculum Assessment data just over 1 in 4 (27%) of 10- to 11-year-olds did not meet the expected standard in reading in the 2018 to 2019 school year (DofE 2019). Around 3 billion people around the world struggle with basic level reading and writing and illiteracy is considered ‘a global tragedy’ (World Literacy Foundation)


Writing is a recent cultural invention; a code for spoken language in which the smallest sound units are represented on paper by 26 letters of the alphabet, used in probably between 300 and 400 graphophonemic combinations (Gough & Hillinger, 1980). There is a high degree of inconsistency in the relationship between speech and spelling (for discussion, see Share, 2008) and many of the most commonly used words include phoneme-grapheme mappings not taught through explicit phonics instruction. This might account for the persistence in schools of teaching certain ‘high frequency words’ as whole words, by rote learning.
Teaching children to memorise words can provide a student access to connected text in advance of learning the phonics principles otherwise necessary for decoding them. However most words become authentic ‘sight words’ when a reader is able to efficiently process the phoneme to grapheme correspondences of the printed forms (Ehri, 2014).

Why do these ‘high frequency’ words matter?
The importance of these words cannot be understated; research undertaken by Edward Fry demonstrated that the first 25 words make up about a third of all printed material, the first 100 make up about half of all written material, and the first 300 make up at least 65 percent of all written material (Fry, Kress, & Fountoukidis, 2000) Fry's Instant Words are commonly used words in English ranked in order of frequency. The original 1000 words (Fry, 1957) was condensed to a list of 300 words (Fry, 1980) and reintroduced as a modified list of 1000 words (Fry, 2000). It would be difficult for children to read and write many sentences in the early stages of schooling without using at least a few of those words. These words are described as separate to words that children will decode using phonics.

The self-teaching hypothesis, proposed by David Share, is the idea that once learners have established their knowledge of grapheme-phoneme correspondences and the essential process of segmenting and blending, they begin to apply this knowledge to new and novel words. In the initial stages of orthographic learning, children may be instructed on the correct pronunciation of simple high-use words. As learning continues, children learn new orthographic forms too rapidly for direct item-by-item instruction to be plausible as the main driver of learning. While Share indicated that initially perhaps the first 100 high-frequency words (many of which are highly irregular, e.g., OF, WAS) might be taught via direct instruction, it seems evident that the bulk of printed words are not explicitly taught.

Share proposed that even in words with irregular graphemes, there will be some that the learners know, and they can use context.


Although there may be an acceptance within the scientific community that orthographic mapping is ‘the most current theory of how children form sight word representations’ (Torgesen 2004b, p36) the way in which this is achieved, both from an instructional perspective as well as a learning perspective, remains unclear.

When students look at the spelling, pronounce the word, distinguish separate phonemes in the pronunciation, and are shown how the graphemes match up to phonemes in that word, it is assumed that the connection forming process will take place. According to the theory relating to orthographic mapping reading the word a few times secures its connections in memory.

The mapping of words using our 'Code Mapping' software is presented as an easier route to Orthographic Mapping than systematic phonics and the teaching of high-frequency words alone.  

For publishers selling 'levelled readers' this system bridges the gap between what they are presenting (a focus on vocabulary knowledge and comprehension) and the focus of 'decodable readers' in which the focus is primarily on phonics, and decoding fluency. 


Not only Code Mapped but also Speech Sound Monster Mapped!
More children can then start even earlier!


Learners are often far more engaged when the words to be explored, eg high-frequency words are displayed within popular tracks, or much loved stories and poems.

You could also map 'predictable texts' that are not suitable for developing decoding skills in the very early stages of learning to read.

We are readies - mapping is our super power! The Reading Hut
The Reading Hut - We are readies! - Mapping is our super power!
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