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 DIFFERENT Workshops and Training

Emma Hartnell-Baker - ICRWY

Emma Hartnell-Baker
'Miss Emma'

BEd Hons. MA SEN
Doctoral Student - University of Reading
Proudly Neurodivergent. 

I Can Read Without You ICRWY Project
Speech to Print Approach - Linguistic Phonics with Miss Emma
Blinded by the Letters - Different Training - NeuroReadies

Less Teaching, More Learning.
Training series created BY Neurodivergent Teachers FOR Neurodivergent Learners.
We are NeuroReadies. 

We are NeuroReadies - we embrace our differences
We are NeuroReadies - Embracing our Differences

Series of Lectures - PATOSS

Patoss - Emma Hartnell-Baker - Lecture Series

Using the Latest Advances in the Understanding of Reading Development to Plan and Guide Reading Intervention

This is the first lecture in a series of lectures by Dr Grace Elliott and Emma Hartnell-Baker, and will discuss the latest advances in the science of reading, and how aligning instruction with these advances can improve students’ reading. Suitable for educators and parents.

Please note: this whole series of webinars can be booked at a reduced cost by clicking here

Dr Elliott and I are planning thought provoking and practical training for UK teachers, and also welcome ideas! What would help you more effectively help your students?
Miss Emma 

I love this so much I have to share it here. If you are as passionate about moving forwards towards a new, more unified, science of reading,
I'd love to connect! 

Please do download the paper here. 


“Lost in Translation? Challenges in Connecting Reading Science and Educational Practice”
Mark S. Seidenberg, Matt Cooper Borkenhagen, and Devin M. Kearns discuss many of the issues related to bridging the findings of basic research to practice
. The authors state, “We have three concerns about current efforts to use this science to improve reading outcomes. First, there is a need for additional translational research to establish closer connections between theory and practice. We know more about the science of reading than about the science of teaching based on the science of reading. Second, we are concerned about how reading science has been characterized in educational contexts: It can be oversimplified in ways that slow progress by seeming to sanction practices that are only loosely connected to it. Finally, the science of reading is a moving target because it continues to progress. Theories have grown increasingly complex and counterintuitive, creating additional translational challenges.” The authors illustrate these concerns with many examples, including an interesting example related to how readers read words, arguing for a combination of “implicit learning of the statistical structure of mappings between form (orthography and phonology) and meaning” and “explicit instruction [that] can be seen as enabling statistical learning, and timely, targeted instruction [that] can further accelerate it.” Overall, this article emphasizes the complexity of reading and how nuanced understandings of the research and context can inform translation of findings to classrooms.

1. Pursue cross-disciplinary collaborations. Summarizing findings and expecting others to pursue the implications has not been an effective strategy in reading science. Many types of scientific research require teams of individuals with complementary types of expertise. Translating reading science into verifiably effective educational practices does as well. Such teams are more likely to succeed at employing basic insights about reading and learning in ways that can be utilized by educators in the classroom.


2. Work towards a new science of teaching. Any theory of learning, including the one we’ve outlined here, should provide the following necessary information in the formation of a science of teaching. The result of such research should be the how of learning via teaching, accomplished by specifying what needs to be learned (the relevant sources of knowledge), when learning of a particular kind needs to occur, and for whom.


3. Avoid a narrow focus on phonics. Discussions about connecting the science of reading to education are often limited to phonics. The considerable research on this issue is only one part of a much larger body of research that addresses the many other elements of skilled reading and its development, including the many factors that affect children's progress. The science does speak to the importance of integrating print and sound early in development and to the role of instruction. However, it does so in the context of other skills and knowledge, their dependence on each other, and the time course of learning.


4. Invest in early learning. Many children are at risk for reading difficulties on the first day of school (Loeb & Bassok, 2007), due in large part to individual differences in knowledge of spoken language and the world it is used to communicate about (Muter, Hulme, Snowling, & Stevenson, 2004; Hoff, 2013). Increased translational research about what can be done in early learning contexts prior to the start of school will help fill in our knowledge of what we can do, when, and for which learners.


5. Develop a science of reading that applies to all readers. Most research on the science of reading is conducted with individuals from a narrow range of backgrounds. Conclusions based on this research cannot be assumed to generalize to understudied groups, including racial/ethnic minorities and individuals from low SES backgrounds. Deeper understanding of the impact of these individual difference factors is necessary to advance the science and its impact on education.


6. Examine existing systems of learning. Curricula and instruction can be assessed with respect to their coherence with known mechanisms of learning. Existing systems – from formal curricula to informal practices by individual teachers – should be examined and augmented in a way that moves them closer to what we know about how learners learn.

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Miss Emma
Director, The Reading Hut Ltd

Let's get the world reading!
1 precious child at a time. 

NEW! Play with the ICRWY Word Mapping Tool at home and in the classroom! ICRWY Lessons app 


It is frustrating, but no surprise, that over 1 in 4 children in the UK leave primary school unable to read at the minimum expected levels, or able to cope with the literacy demands of the secondary school curriculum. 
Programmes are designed for the neurotypical classroom, for children who have normally developing speech, language and communication skills, are physically and emotionally healthy, regularly attend school and have parents or carers who can and do support their children at home. Programmes are designed for children who can sit and listen and follow social 'norms', and who all speak in the same way. 

There is an unfulfilled expectation by school leaders and policymakers that teachers will understand the learning needs of their students and be able to effectively adapt these one-size-fits-all programmes. Most programmes with a handbook and lesson plans that follow a 'Scope and Sequence' for teaching beginning reading conflict with the basic principles of differentiated instruction because the developers fail to recognise that the individual literary learning needs of children vary greatly.  Most programme developers (and educators) also incorrectly assume that children can only acquire knowledge of grapheme-to-phoneme patterns through direct instruction in which the teaching of letter-sound correspondences is explicit and systematic. While explicit instruction is needed to develop a foundation of phonic knowledge, most learning is implicit. This may not align with the teacher's worldview about how children learn or the worldview of the decision makers at the school.

I have faced huge hurdles trying to share what I know and can do, to better serve the needs of the highest number of learners, as someone who also thinks and learns 'differently' from the majority /neurotypical. 
My techniques, activities and resources have been rejected by many, simply because they don't understand them, because they conflict with their worldview - or they do not 'like' me as a person, and would like me to change. They fail to see the irony and choose to ignore the results achieved by those more willing to embrace 'different', even if it means changing the way they have taught for years. I am forever thankful to those teachers who can stand back and try to understand the learning journey of individuals, as they are changing the trajectory of so many lives and especially the 20% who have failed to read in primary school for decades - the 'instructional casualties' we leave behind regardless of whichever is the lastest 'golden ticket' fad for teaching reading. 

After over a decade of supporting teachers in both the primary and secondary school sectors, I have realised the best focus of my time is the early years - to prevent these issues, and protect these children even before they start school. I can't change the education system, but I can do far more to raise awareness, support those caring for young children, and protect them from failure. As a nation we immunise children against illness, but not against illiteracy. For however long I have on this earth, this is my life's work; my calling.

I want every child, teenager and adult, to be able to say 'I Can Read Without You'. Reading independently is empowering because you can then do what you like with it - it can't hold you back - what you do with it becomes your choice. Not having that choice is unforgivable, when it is possible for almost everyone.  

   Miss Emma
Proudly Neurodivergent.
Unashamedly passionate about inclusion and early intervention.


Embracing Neurodiversity - Emma Hartnell-Baker
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