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The Toddler Project

Phonemic Awarenes Mastery! Ortho-Graphix
Speech Sound Monsters! Phonemies

Express an Interest in Our Accelerator Programme for Early Literacy Success
The first five years have so much to do with how the next eighty turn out. - Bill Gates Sr


Early Years Educators who join The Toddler Project are empowered to ensure every child learns to read at school—many can read before they start! Using our unique Phonemic Awareness Screener at age 3, educators can assess each child’s ability to isolate, segment and blend  speech sounds—phonemic awareness is a crucial skill for early literacy learning. Children identified as at-risk benefit from custom, play-based interventions designed by experts in Speech and Language Therapy, Specific Learning Differences (SpLD), and Gifted Learning.

Our cutting-edge ‘Ortho-Graphix’ technology, including the Award Winning, Innovate UK funded, ‘I Can Speak Without You’ app, equips educators to keep parents involved and informed by generating reports, demonstrating the identification and celebration of learning differences, and showcasing progress in connecting spoken and written English. As these connections are strengthened, children become more articulate, confident, and independent, engaging with written words and books that capture their interest.

You can see the phonemic awareness activities are ‘working’ when they spontaneously start to speak in speech sounds! SpLD specialist will understand the significance (dyslexic learners have poor phonemic awareness).

Watching young children engage in pretend reading during play is both delightful and crucial for their cognitive and linguistic development. Pretend reading, where children mimic reading behaviours they've observed, helps develop language skills, print awareness, story comprehension, and imagination.

In the video, you'll see Avery, who has been trialling our Innovate Funded app and linked Phonemic Awareness Mastery activities. Mummy has printed mapped words with 'Map and Drag' and added them to the book:-)

He's not only pretend reading but also segmenting words into their smallest sound units, demonstrating phonemic awareness. He is now choosing this as part of his daily play. This skill, which involves isolating, segmenting, and blending speech sounds (phonemes) is essential for learning to read and is the number one predictor of reading success or failure, according to decades of research, including the National Reading Panel. 'Phonemies' are a visual representation of those speech sounds, and shows toddlers the 'sound value' of letters. It makes sense to them.

According to the DfE, 1 in 4 children start school without phonemic awareness, and 1 in 4 leave primary school unable to read. Encouraging pretend reading through regular reading, providing access to books, and by engaging with Phonemic Awareness Mastery can make a significant difference. Imagine if we screened all 3 year olds for this and gave parents and educators risk reports (yes, that's what we are working on!)

By fostering pretend reading, we can help children develop essential pre-reading skills and a lifelong love of books and storytelling. Let's support and celebrate these early literacy milestones to ensure every child has the opportunity to succeed in reading! Sign up for updates 

This is AMAZING as it shows why so many struggle to learn to read and spell - he hears 's d o p' - of course - it's how he (and most of us) often say the word 'stop' when speaking.

But unless he plays the 'King's' speech sounds in Phonemies (Speech Sound Monsters - phonetic symbols for kids) he can't SEE the correctly spelt word at the top. The tech will only generate the word when he plays the universally accepted phonemes (speech sounds)

This bridges the gap between spoken and written English in a way toddlers understand. Now Avery (just turned 3) knows this, he is adjusting the Speech Sound Monsters accordingly. And this is EXCITING to him!

Also to Amari - just turned 1 - who you hear in the background saying the speech sounds in his name.

These clips of Avery (and Amari) are just brilliant. They show that the tech I have been developing is not only 'fit for purpose' as a communication device but has much wider benefits for ALL children. It should be market ready - app store and google play - in June. We are also seeking grant funding to expand on this - early screening of learning differences for 3 year olds, with 'risk factor' reports and recommendations.

Every child deserves to start school with great language and phonemic awareness skills, and intrinsically motivated to read and spell, through 'Speech Sound Mapping' ! Don't you agree?

If you have connections with early years centres (pre-school) please ask them to follow the page and get in touch - they can screen for dyslexia, and offer 'learners of concern' the intervention needed, and also use the tech and tools to enhance speech and language skills!


Emma Hartnell-Baker

Whitewashed Wood

One of the questions we get daily is about the teaching of 'key words'

Best Value

Getting Started: Pre-Recorded Training



Half Price May Offer! Access 3 x 60 Minute Sessions for 3 Weeks, with Map and Drag Access

Valid for 3 weeks

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