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Cracking the Reading Code

Speech Sound Mapping: Bridging the Gap Between Spoken and Written English - From Speech to Print and Print to Speech; Cracking the Universal Written Code
Express an interest in the Universal Spelling Code Guide: Cracking the Reading Code Handbook Launching Soon 

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EVERY word can be decoded, not just those with GPCs explicitly taught within synthetic phonics programmes. No need to wait to a particular point in a programme—we build on their schema, and they play with the words that interest them. We plan on making communication, reading, and spelling fun, quick, and easy for ALL learners, suitable even for toddlers. Naturally connect spoken and written English in a way previously not possible for ALL learners. MySpeekie accelerates phonemic awareness and helps children connect speech and written language in a totally unique way.

Imagine the value of enabling ALL learners—especially those who are neurodivergent—to avoid learning difficulties. By leveraging this innovative technology, we can prevent the mental anguish associated with the reading difficulties faced by at least 1 in 3 children who are taught to read in school, and make a huge contribution to eradicating illiteracy. We PREVENT issues for the 1in 3 when they are 3.

Speech Sound Mapping Tech Tools

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Show the Word - Ortho-Graphix - Speech Sound Mapping
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Coming soon!
The Clickable Library

Imagine if children could click on words they weren't sure of and SEE the graphemes, SEE the 'Phonemies'  and HEAR their speech sounds, and the word?

Just being told the word doesn't help to 'glue' together those three essential elements ie the speech, spelling and meaning - to secure in the orthographic lexicon (brain word bank)
 
So we created tech that would!


 

Single and Double Click the Words

The Universal Written Code (350+ GPCs)
Only around 100 are explicitly taught within phonics programmes

The written code was designed to represent speech, but it was originally based on a specific way of speaking.

Teaching children to read according to their local accent is like teaching them a new language but only in the accent of their region. Instead, we use a universal code, which children can then adapt to their accent.
 

For instance, when an Australian child with a specific accent encounters the letter /a/, they are not taught to say the sound they use according to their accent. They are taught to link it with the universal sound /æ/. This approach aligns with the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) and serves as a universal translator of phonemes to words. Children cannot expect to type their regional sounds and see the word they mean. ''The Story' introduces this to children learning with  the Speech Sound Pics (SSP) Approach in Australia - see the ICRWY Lessons app.
 

Understanding this reveals why many teachers struggle to teach phonics, and so many children struggle to learn with phonics programs. The spoken and written codes are not a simple match, yet this is rarely explained to children.
 

When training teachers of phonics I ask them  to do something they assume they can do well: identify the speech sounds in words. If five children say the same word with different accents, using five different phonemes, can they identify those sounds? Or are they blinded by the letters they see in  their minds, and the sounds they use - or know are used within their phonics program. 

The next step is to help them map speech sounds to the correct graphemes with children, in a way that aligns with the IPA - the Universal Spelling Code- which remain consistent regardless of the phonemes. Current phonics programs often overlook this crucial aspect, and when they do address it, they generally do so poorly. Very few teachers have ever had training that even touches this issue - or the issue of their orthographic interference! A great starting point is the IPA - the International Phonetic Alphabet. 

 

The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is a system of phonetic notation that provides a standardised way to represent the sounds of spoken language. Developed by the International Phonetic Association, the IPA uses symbols to denote each distinct sound (phoneme), enabling accurate transcription of pronunciation across all languages.

Key Features of the IPA:

  1. Universal Representation: The IPA assigns a unique symbol to each sound in human speech, making it possible to accurately transcribe the pronunciation of any language, regardless of its spelling system.

  2. Distinct Symbols: Each phoneme is represented by a specific symbol. For instance, the IPA symbol /æ/ corresponds to the vowel sound in "cat," while /ʃ/ represents the "sh" sound in "she."

  3. Consistent Notation: Unlike conventional spelling, which can vary and be inconsistent across languages, the IPA provides a uniform method for describing sounds, avoiding confusion and ambiguity.

  4. Detail and Precision: The IPA includes additional symbols and diacritics to convey fine details of pronunciation, such as stress, tone, and intonation.

  5. Educational Use: It is widely used in linguistics, language teaching, speech therapy, and dictionary making to analyse and teach accurate pronunciation.
     

My role is to help children isolate, segment, and blend phonemes at ages 2 and 3. I guide them to map these sounds to the corresponding 'sound pictures' and to understand the written code. This method is effective regardless of whether the children are Irish, Australian, American, or Jamaican. They grasp this concept quickly due to my teaching approach, though few understand how it works or how to implement it in classrooms, despite my efforts to explain it over the past decade. So I have stopped trying to explain it, and will go back  to 1:1 teaching of children with teachers watching me. This is why I am seeking funding to launch the Early Learning Differences Centre. 

Embracing an Ortho-Graphix Mindset: Connecting Speech Sounds, Spelling, and Meaning by Focusing on Phonemic Awareness and Making the Whole Code Visible
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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!

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