top of page
Reading for Pleasure - The DIFFERENT Reading Framework
The Reading Hut - Exploring Written Words
Let's find the 1 in 3 when they are age 3! The Reading Hut
MySpeekie - Ortho-Graphix- Innovate UK Funded
Innovate UK Funded - Ortho-Graphix- MySpeekie!

MySpeekie: Early, Easy Communication, Reading, and Spelling for Very Young Children
Preventing the struggles faced by 1 in 3 children in school by reducing cognitive load—and they LOVE the Speech Sound Monsters®! We find the 3 when they are age 3. With an Ortho-Graphix® mindset, learning is not planned as such; instead, words are explored according to the child and the moment via Speech Sound Mapping. Parents have fun exploring spoken and written words with 'Phonemies' from birth. Reading for Pleasure is a great by-product! 

My name is Emma Hartnell-Baker, the neurodivergent 'Reading Whisperer®' and 'Duck Hands® Lady'! I offer Speech Sound Mapping therapy and training, and design neuro-inclusive products and services to help ALL children learn to communicate, read and spell as quickly and easily as possible by building on their schema. I have an 'Ortho-Graphix®' mindset! Reading for pleasure is the NATURAL by-product; a fascination with words is the goal! Ortho-Graphix is neuro-affirming: EVERY child becomes excited to learn with the 'Phonemies' - Speech Sound Monsters! They connect spoken and written English to SHOW the Universal Spelling Code.  
Although we have programmes for classroom teachers, parents and EY educators simply explore words as part of their daily lives. The words explored are relevant to the child at that moment, and the WAY we do this is different to anything else in the world, because I see words differently. My neurodivergent brain LOVES patterns, and mapping words. This system is mathematical and 'just makes sense'! 


After over three decades working in education, I’m deeply concerned for children entering the school system and finding it difficult to learn to read and spell—not because they are unable, but because of how they are taught the links between speech sounds (phonemes) and graphemes (one or more letters that represent the speech sounds). English is such a difficult written language to learn! Although there are only 26 letters in the alphabet, they are used in different combinations to represent 'phonemes' on paper. For example, the graphemes with the letter /a/ can represent nine different sounds, but the speech sounds can be represented by many different graphemes. The Speech Sound Monsters®, on my 'Code Mapped®' text, show children the sound and letter/s value immediately, which reduces cognitive load. At school cognitive load is increased as they need to first know the 'sound value' of the letters eg if asked 'what sound does this letter maker?' That concept only 'works' for certain words and too many children become confused and lose interest in exploring words for fun. Speech Sound Mapping flips that! The links between speech, spelling and meaning become clear, the 'mapping' is glued together in memory band words are stored in their 'brain words bank' for future use.  

L/a/r/a (4) M/ay/a (4) and L/u/c/a/s (3) are not confused because the sound, spelling and meaning connection in their names are visible: the words are orthographically mapped and the 'Phonemies' show the 'sound value' of each grapheme (letter or string of letters).
Any 'mapped' books can be explored by toddlers! Which books would your child like to see 'Monster Mapped'? They can already map any words using the Speech Sound Mapping Tools - eg their names. Phonemies personalise learning.

There are no longer any 'tricky' words 
Emma Hartnell-Baker - Innovate UK Winner!

The Simple View of Reading posits that reading comprehension is the product of two distinct components: language comprehension and word reading (decoding). This model leads many practitioners to assume these components develop - and are to be taught - sequentially and separately. The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework in the UK reflects this by emphasising the importance of building a foundation in language comprehension before focusing on decoding skills. The EYFS framework states:

"It is crucial for children to develop a lifelong love of reading. Reading consists of two dimensions: language comprehension and word reading. Skilled word reading, taught later, involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words."


The EYFS traditionally promotes an initial focus on language comprehension, engaging children with spoken (whole) words and texts and fostering a love of stories and reading. This is typically followed by phonics instruction, where children learn to recognise letters and their corresponding sounds (going print to speech / eg "what 'sound' does this letter make") and expect children to blend them - with phonemic awareness - to form words. 1 in 4 start school without phonemic awareness. (DfE 2018) Many phonics programmes do not focus on language comprehension - other than of words with the target GPCs - and reading comprehension, the focus is on 'decoding'.

However, a 'different' - neuro-affirming - approach involves using Phonemies—visual representations of speech sounds that can be embedded into words. Phonemies allow children to see the sound values directly within the context of words, enabling them to figure out the pronunciation and meaning of words within an opaque orthography even if they have not been explicitly taught the letters and their sounds beforehand. This method also supports phoneme articulation and leverages children's phonemic awareness, which often needs to be explicitly taught and developed through targeted Speech Sound Mapping activities. An interest in these playful activities is vital!  

Speech Sound Mapping focuses on the simultaneous exploration of speech sounds (phonemes), spelling (letters), and meaning. This method integrates these elements to support children in understanding and decoding words more naturally and holistically. By seeing Phonemies embedded within words, children can use activities designed to enhance their phonemic awareness, facilitating the decoding and comprehension of words. This approach allows for the development of phonemic awareness from an early age, building on the child's existing schema, and make the 'Speech, Spelling and Meaning' links simple to understand.

Those with an Ortho-Graphix® mindset utilise Phonemies, facilitating early and comprehensive exploration of both spoken and written words. By removing the cognitive load associated with traditional picture mnemonics (e.g., associating an apple with the sound /æ/), children can focus on phonemic awareness and orthographic knowledge simultaneously. This method of integrating Speech, Spelling, and Meaning (SSM) supports effective orthographic mapping, enabling children to read by sight more efficiently. They do not need to wait for anything to get started! Unlike with the application in England of the Simple View, which posits that there are two, rather than three, elements.

Research by Ehri (1998, 2005, 2014) and Share (1995) on self-teaching and orthographic mapping underscores the importance of integrating phonemic awareness with decoding and language comprehension. Ehri's research highlights how children form connections between sounds and letters, leading to automatic word recognition. Share's self-teaching hypothesis explains how repeated exposure to written words helps children independently develop word recognition skills through phonemic awareness and word mapping (speech sounds and their spelling) practice.

While the Simple View of Reading has been foundational, embracing new instructional methods like Speech Sound Mapping and Phonemies within the Ortho-Graphix® mindset can enhance early reading instruction by integrating language comprehension and decoding from the outset. This promotes a more robust and holistic literacy development in young children, allowing them to decode and understand words within their context, leveraging their developing phonemic awareness to build a solid foundation for lifelong reading skills.


  • Ehri, L. C. (1998). Grapheme-Phoneme Knowledge Is Essential for Learning to Read Words in English. In J. L. Metsala & L. C. Ehri (Eds.), Word Recognition in Beginning Literacy (pp. 3-40). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

  • Ehri, L. C. (2005). Learning to Read Words: Theory, Findings, and Issues. Scientific Studies of Reading, 9(2), 167-188.

  • Ehri, L. C. (2014). Orthographic Mapping in the Acquisition of Sight Word Reading, Spelling Memory, and Vocabulary Learning. Scientific Studies of Reading, 18(1), 5-21.

  • Share, D. L. (1995). Phonological Recoding and Self-Teaching: Sine Qua Non of Reading Acquisition. Cognition, 55(2), 151-218.


Phoneme (Speech Sound) Articulation Becomes Interesting!

The Reading Hut - Discovery Screening  - Phonemic Awareness - We Screen the 1 in 3 When They Are Age Three
The earlier we screen for phonemic awareness the better - we find the 1 in 3 when they are age 3

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

Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud - Village in the Cloud

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 

Monster Sounds and Moves

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. He didn't even know the 'sound value' of the graphemes in his own name! 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 correspondences. 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' to Luca.

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 

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.



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. This will make learning with synthetic phonics easier for all. 

However, by knowing each 'monster sound' (introduced within PAM) 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' 

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.