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

Literacy is the cornerstone of lifelong learning and education. Individuals who lack reading or writing abilities face challenges with basic daily activities, such as reading medicine labels, completing job applications, or interpreting traffic signs. According to DfE data, 1 in 4 children start school without phonemic awareness—the leading cause of reading difficulties—and 1 in 4 leave primary school unable to read. By teaching someone literacy skills, we enable them to seize better life opportunities and help break the cycle of poverty. Our mission, therefore, is to ensure all children start school with strong phonemic awareness.

Screen and Intervene (SAI) from The Reading Hut Ltd is different: our phoneme (speech sound) articulation and phonemic awareness mastery program (Speech Sound Mapping) with Phonemies can be used with 2- to 4-year-olds before they are introduced to letters. This ensures that when they start learning phonics, they have the phonemic awareness needed to crack the reading code without difficulties.


Phonemies: Child-Centric Phonetic Symbols for Clear Phoneme Articulation and Enhanced Phonemic Awareness 


Phonemic Awareness Mastery: Mastering Phonemic Awareness Before Introducing Letter Names and Sounds to Avoid Difficulties Cracking the Reading Code

Light Wood
Speech Sound Monster Mapping - Phonemies!

Screen and Intervene (SAI) from The Reading Hut Ltd is different: our phoneme (speech sound) articulation and phonemic awareness mastery program is introduced to toddlers without using letters. Each 'speech sound mapping' journey is designed to embrace learning differences and build on what each child already knows. Our screening identifies the child's starting point. This is part of the wider DIFFERENT Reading Framework that centres around personalised learning, guided by leading SEN assessors and reading difficulty experts.

Phonemic Awareness Mastery (PAM) is an innovative solution that toddlers LOVE—no need to know letter names or letter sounds! Instead we use Phonemies : child-centric phonetic symbols for clear phoneme articulation and enhanced phonemic awareness.

The next steps for the Innovate UK-funded tech are to create Community ‘Screen and Intervene’ (SAI) Spaces in local areas where we screen 3-year-olds for phoneme (speech sound) articulation and phonemic awareness.

Phonemic awareness is the most common source of reading difficulties in school-aged children. We are on a mission to send ALL children to school with great phonemic awareness!

We screen, then design a unique Phonemic Awareness Mastery (PAM) program around each child. Now that we know their starting point, this becomes possible. This is Avery’s! Share the video via vimeo 

This approach is also ideal for children with EHC funding. It is their Speech Sound Mapping Therapy program, designed to engage their unique minds. This is personalised learning with tech developed to be used anywhere, by parents.
Screening reports from our early years SAI can be used to apply for EHC funding as we are experts in the SEN field.

We can even design bespoke programs for those reception children identified during screening (high risk of dyslexia) to do with a TA when they start KS1. We take early intervention seriously.

What’s the goal? - reading for pleasure! Children with poor phonemic awareness will struggle with that because phonics will be so difficult. Let’s sort that out - support early identification of challenges and invest in SAI: PAM! No letter names or knowledge of ‘letter sounds’ are required. You can help us gather data and publish ground-breaking research that supports the idea of finding entry points and tracking how far each individual has travelled!

Avery is accelerating the PA processing speed by using the Rap! Awesome work, buddy! :-) I think I got the timing right for him to do it solo. I am designing his program, and that means understanding his ‘sweet spot’. My job is to teach him in the way that he learns - even if I never get to actually meet him! Follow his journey (and his 12-month-old brother) here on site and if this ‘personalised learning journey’ approach is of interest, please do reach out!

#InnovateUKFunded #Dyslexia #PhomemicAwareness #LearningDifferences #Phonemies #SpeechSoundMapping #EarlyIntervention

'Miss Emma'
Emma Hartnell-Baker- Neurodivergent 'Reading Whisperer' aka The Duck Hands Lady 

* SEN Specialist (Level 7)

* Previously Managed Two Outstanding Nurseries
* Appointed as an OFSTED Inspector (Early Years)
* Supported School Wide Literacy Improvement in Australia ('Most Improved in State')
* Now a Specialist (SpLD) Teacher Trainer and Doctoral Student (University of Reading)
Visit Emma Hartnell-Baker's work history and qualifications

No product

Welcome to The Reading Hut Ltd

Transforming the way children learn to read for pleasure with Ortho-Graphix: our suite of tech solutions offering 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. This means using 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.

Welcome to our community dedicated to shifting perceptions around teaching all children, and especially neurodiverse learners, to read for pleasure. Our mission centres on understanding each child's unique needs and interests to create a truly personalised reading journey. We believe that every child deserves a tailored approach that prioritises their needs above all else, fostering a genuine love for reading.

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 shifting perceptions around whole-class programmes and focusing on what interests and motivates each child.

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.

Our commitment to a child-centred approach and evidence-based solutions means we move away from one-size-fits-all programmes. Instead, we develop bespoke reading journeys that adapt to the child's evolving needs and interests. 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.

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

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.

About Us

Expertise and Innovation

Emma Hartnell-Baker, The Reading Hut company director, is an Innovate UK winner, former 'Outstanding' nursery owner, Early Years OFSTED Inspector, and holds a Master's Degree in Special Educational Needs. Currently pursuing doctoral research at the University of Reading, Emma explores how 'Orthographic Interference' impacts adults teaching children to read and spell in England. Together with Dr. Grace Elliott, British Dyslexia Association Practice Manager, Emma has delivered PATOSS training and participated in a Special Interest Group developed by Thames Valley Police to reduce crime. As neurodivergent women with vast experience and qualifications within SEN, they have launched Early Dyslexia Screening CIC, a not-for-profit organisation to offer free screening and raise awareness of dyslexia from birth through the early years and into school. They will pursue this when Dr. Grace finishes her maternity leave. Emma Hartnell-Baker will lead the first Phonemic Awareness Mastery pilot for very young children in the first dedicated SAI (Screen and Intervene) Space.

Our Mission

Fostering a Love for Reading

We recognise the need for innovative early screening for learning differences and tailor-made plans that centre on unique needs and interests designed by experts in the field, who have a desire to scale up and help eradicate illiteracy. The DIFFERENT Reading Framework will be developed, to focus on a learning journey that children choose as 'play,' stimulating their minds and fostering a love for reading.

The Challenge

Addressing Literacy and Social Justice

According to the World Literacy Foundation, the cost of illiteracy to the global economy is USD $1.19 trillion. Despite extensive research, 'teaching reading' remains a controversial subject with an overwhelming emphasis on one-size-fits-all programmes. When children fail to read with that programme they are offered it again in small groups, and eventually something else. By then they may have disengaged from wanting to learn to read. We aim to change that by first understanding children as individuals, through 'Screening' and then 'Intervening' in the early years through SAI Spaces, more easily facilitating reading for pleasure, which is linked to numerous academic, social, and emotional benefits.

Our Approach

Personalised Learning Journeys

At the heart of The Different Reading Framework, we aim to ensure that every child can learn to read by assessing their phoneme articulation, phonemic awareness, and working memory at age 3 before they start to learn letter names or 'sounds. No letters are used within our unique screening process as we have developed unique 'phonetic symbols for children' called Phonemies. We can evaluate their ability to isolate, segment and blend speech sounds with a character that makes the sound 'visible' : they manipulate these speech sound monsters. Because of this, and as even very young children understand the concept, we can develop phonemic awareness without using any letters. The 'Phonemies' represent speech sounds. Read more here 
We then design their learning journey around texts that interest and are relevant to them - even if they do not undertake our 'intervention' their parents will be aware of the screening and their risk factor at age 3 and later at 4.
When ready to link speech sounds with letters our 'Speech Sound Mapping' technology makes all text 'decodable' to child undertaking our intervention and acceleration programs, regardless of their phonics knowledge, allowing them to explore texts they are interested in and support their speech and language skills.
The goal is early, easy reading for pleasure. They cannot achieve success with phonics without phonemic awareness.  

In the UK where phonics has been mandatory for almost 20 years - the only country to mandate this (KS1 teachers use DfE validated synthetic phonics programs) 1 in 4 children still struggle with reading by the time they leave primary school. We argue that the issue is not phonics itself but the lack of attention to phonemic awareness or personalised approaches that meet each child's unique needs and fully engage them, as meaningful to them. Children are first put through a standard process, then 'fail', and are subjected to more of the same. Our focus is on the early years, catching children before they start this process and providing them with what they need to succeed from the very beginning.

Our approach ensures that children develop phonemic and orthographic awareness, vocabulary knowledge, fluency, and comprehension skills in a way that is engaging and relevant to them. This early intervention is crucial for setting the foundation for successful reading skills and fostering a lifelong love for reading. Children who exhibit high levels of phonemic awareness at 3 and who are offered our acceleration program, will become avid readers before starting school - there are no blocks to learning to map speech sounds to 'Sound Pics' - graphemes- and the Phonemies simplify English and its opaque orthography.   

Areas of Focus

  1. Technology to Bridge Spoken and Written English: Supplements existing frameworks used in nurseries and schools.

  2. Personalised Learning for SEN: Addressing the gap in personalised learning, especially for children with SEN.

  3. Early Years Focus: Early intervention is crucial as phonemic awareness is the number one predictor of reading success at school entry. When combined with speech and language therapy two issues are addressed  

Next Steps

SAI Spaces - Community Support: Phonemic Awareness Mastery (PAM) 

  • Phonemic Awareness Screening for 3-Year-Olds: Includes risk assessment and detailed report sent to parents and carers.

  • Targeted Interventions: For those at risk and acceleration for others.

  • Follow-Up Screenings at Age 4: Assess impact and offer ongoing support.

  • Data Publishing: Transparency in our findings and methodologies.

PAM within SAI Spaces will enable us to identify children at risk early and provide opportunities for them to learn to read using a bespoke program built around their unique needs and interests. Screening generally involves three sessions over seven days, assessing current phonemic awareness levels, learning capabilities, and interests. 

Join Us

Partner with Us

We are keen to network with others who embrace personalised learning and recognise the importance of increasing the number of children who read for pleasure. Our technology aims to connect children to spoken and written language, even in environments without electricity, internet, or teachers.

Explore our website to learn more about our initiatives, technology, and how you can support our mission to create a world where every child loves to read, and where we 'get it right' for each child, from the very beginning.

bottom of page