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Tools for Teaching ALL Students to Read and Spell, Under One Roof !

Monster Mapping - An Early Intervention for Dyslexia

© 2019 Follow Miss Emma, The Reading Whisperer, The Dyslexia Doctor House
Learn how to teach dyslexic students to read and spell- learn to us an early intervention for dyslexia, teach your dyslexic child to read and spell 

Teacherless Teaching Ltd. Registered in England Company number 11262314
Mailing Address: Unit A 82 James Carter Road. Mildenhall Industrial Estate. Bury St Edmonds, Suffolk IP28 7DE. England

Teach Reading and Spelling using a
'Skills Acquisition'Approach.

Where do you start, if teaching swimming? 
You teach, reinforce, focus on developing skills systematically and explicitly, until it becomes natural.  
This is how we approach the teaching of reading and spelling. 

All components of the SSP program are based not only on contemporary research into the ways students best learn to read and spell, but also with regards to the most effective ways to organise this teaching.  

Teach Reading               Teach Spelling

Phase 1                         Phase 1

Students 'follow the Monster sounds, to say the word'
- the Green Level words are used, with an initial focus on 6 phonemes, to practice blending with fluency.  
Students are able to also focus on comprehension.

They are learning what reading 'is', even before we introduce graphemes, including concepts such as 'reading' from left to right, turning pages, that we have ways to represent spoken words on paper. 

This 3 year old is blending 13 phonemes (NO LETTERS) into the word 'physiotherapist' - by following the Monster Sounds and blending them together. He is using fabulous
phonemic awareness skills. Interested in the research?



Linguistic Phonics Handbook (photocopy the resources in clip)

Students listen for the phonemes in words, segment (order) and blend phonemes. 
Initially they do this with Green Level words,
using just 6 phonemes.  Download Monster Strip in Shop.

They split words into their smallest units. So
'train' has 4 phonemes / speech sounds. 
This is part of the full day training session teachers attend.

Student are learning to spell words systematically, in preparation for 'Code Mapping (in Phase 2) 'using the Monster Routine.


They also start learning other Monsters, using the Monster videos.
They can therefore spell ANY words, using the Monsters.

Use the Phase 1 Video Lessons with Miss Emma (or SSP Monster Mapping app) 

Every Speech Sound Monster has their own movement and music !

Ready for Phase 2?

Within Phase 2 we 'map' Speech Sounds to letters, or strings of letters.  When the Monsters are there, students don't really need help figuring out words and even whole sentences. That's EMPOWERING.

Students move through the phases at their own pace, regardless of age.

When we work with adults who may have struggled to read and spell their whole lives, we start with a focus on Phase 1. We are (finally) wiring their brains to be ABLE to do what has been so difficult, by allowing their brains to focus on isolating speech sounds, segmenting and blending - without the visual distraction of letters. So when letters (using linguistic phonics are introduced, the brain is ABLE to Code Map.  
It is far easier for everyone if taught like this from the very beginning...
Come to a Parent and Teacher
Monster Mapping
Workshop ! 

Miss Ann ! 

Encoding (Spelling)

This skill is generally
harder than blending 

Decoding (element of reading)

Already in grades 1+ and need to go back to Phase 1, to be able to learn phonics? 

NB Learn to form all
letters, regardless of
Linguistic Phonics Code Level

Phase 2 Activities

Now we have focused on phonemic awareness, as an isolated skill, we can transition into Phase 2, when we teach students to read, write and spell. 

The 'Super Six Skills' we will now focus on are :
Oral Language
Phonemic Awareness
Visual and Linguistic Phonics
Vocabulary Knowledge
(read why here

We will be using these
core SSP activities.
Online training $35

Speedy Paired/ Group Code Mapping.
This may look like students are 'sounding it out' (something you will often hear in non-SSP classrooms, when students aren't sure of a word while reading) but that is not what's happening here. Students work in pairs of groups and are practising a specific skill - either encoding or blending.

Although students can work in pairs, using their own 'Code Level text' students working at different SSP Code Levels can work together. 

The person 'following the sounds' must be able to read the text with fluency and comprehension. The activity therefore enables them to focus on 'code mapping' the words they recognise. They are able to focus on isolating the phonemes, which their partner blends into the word.

So the partner who is blending gets the opportunity to work at a higher code level than they are working on during their explicit phonics activities. Their partner is basically telling them how each grapheme is pronounced, so that their brains are mapping. 

The quicker students can map graphemes to phonemes (accurately!) the sooner they will become a 'reader'.This is because working memory is not constantly being used to figure out words, which also slows down the process. As they can figure out the words, they can focus on what those words MEAN. This also makes the whole process far more enjoyable. What is the fun, really, in 'reading' if not to be able to lose yourself in a story, or learn about something your're interested in.. 

Code Level / Duck Level Video Lessons with Miss Emma

Unfortunately our English language is a bit of a b*gger to learn. There may only be 26 letters of the alphabet, but these are used in hundreds of combinations to represent our 44+ speech sounds.
Think of the letter 'a' in a word. Even when not part of a grapheme (eg the /ay/ in p/l/ay or the /ar/ in c/ar it can represent over 10 'speech sounds'. Say these words, and think about the 'sound' that /a/ represents... a/n/y    w/a/s    a/n/o/th/er    w/a/t/er   f/a/th/er      
So 'what sound does this make?' is a bit of a silly question to ask a child. It is, more often than not, NOT the sound we use at the beginning of the word 'apple'.

This should show why 'phonics' can be difficult to teach, as well as to learn. As we want children to get to the 'good part' as quickly as possible (the comprehension of those squiggles on the paper) many still choose to ask students to learn whole words. There even used to be an idea (hope) that if students could memorise lots of whole words, and keep practising saying the words on the page (and if the books they were given could be repetitive and predictable) then this tricky business of learning how speech sounds map with the letters on paper could be reduced. 

In this video I show that children can learn to 'read' a whole book, without even looking at the words. 

Unfortunately all good readers and spellers effectively map phonemes and graphemes, as they couldn't become skilled without this ability. We just can't get round it. Learning to read is easier than learning to spell, because the attention to 'code mapping' is so much more precise. So phonics is essential, but the discussions should really focus on HOW the phonics element of the Super Six Skills is covered, so that every student learns what they need, when they need it, in the WAY that they need it. 
We can't focus on basic phonics (eg the graphemes taught and practised within the UK 'Letters and Sounds' program) and expect that all students will learn to read and spell quickly and easily. The content only covers a fraction of the phoneme to grapheme choices used to read and spell the 1.25 million words in the English language, and the pace chosen by schools can often mean that students cover this basic code mapping over 3 or 4 years.

Some children are only show a few of the grapheme (Sound Pic) choices for each phoneme, Even if not using them within 'explicit' phonics learning activities they need to be exposed to them, and USE them ! 




We need children to be independent readers before grade 2. How these basic grapheme choices for the phonemes are taught can also be problematic for many. And this could be why so many programs that claim to be 'synthetic phonics' programs actually include whole word memorisation (calling them 'tricky' words or 'camera' words etc) We need students to be able to Code Map ALL words, and use the range of skills that good readers use - many who didn't seem to even need much instruction (why? What are their brains doing, without explicit instruction?)     .    
Many intelligent students can 'fake' read for quite some time, until the text becomes too complex, as tricks such as guessing from 'first sound' or illustrations, or predicting what the words might be, become ineffective. Some students know they cannot tackle unfamiliar words and spend time memorising whole 'readers'. They can answer the comprehension questions, are are thought to be 'ready for the next level'. 

At the Dyslexia Doctor House (and in all SSP classrooms) teachers are ensuring that students do not need to 'work hard to remember' anything. Our strategies and activities are designed so that they understand what they are doing, and are offered a fully personalised and differentiated learning experience.  

Because so much 'foundational' work takes place it can seem to take some time before the students are reading independently. In their first year of school it can take 3 terms to reach the Yellow 'code level' however they then fly. We allow for 2 years to ensure they are all reading age appropriate chapter books, and the aim is that they do so for pleasure. 

These videos allow students to quickly learn to recognise and use high frequency graphemes, at their own pace. Headphones drown out external noise, and they can focus. 

Code Mapped high frequency words enable them to learn 400+ high frequency words before the end of their first year of school - and they can spell, code map AND recognise the words in books with automaticity.

This means there is more scope to explore the other grapheme choices for the 44+ phonemes, not only within the Speedy Six but during their writing activities, and reading comprehension sessions. 

Teachers visit SSP classrooms before attending SSP training.

This gives them an opportunity to see how engaged the students are, and to ask the students questions about their learning journeys.

SSP Coding Poster
This laminated A3 poster (printed both sides) can be written on with whiteboard pens. 
Students work on the same activity on the poster (there are 6 activities) but at their level and pace.

Side 1
Phonemic awareness
Grapheme recognition and letter formation
Code Mapped Words

Side 2
Grapheme Chants
High Frequency words (use the Duck Level
Keyring when they can read and spell the 100 on the poster

Code Mapped Sentences   

These 5 year olds are already using the SSP Coding Poster to a buzzer.

The A3 Poster is a 2 year program on 1 Poster!           

There is also an A4

option  - see here. 

SSP Speedy Six Spelling !
These six activities are designed to encourage independent, inquiry learning of the code OUTSIDE of the basic Code Level (seen above) Word chosen should have at least one Sound Pic from the Spelling Clouds, that have not been introduced within the explicit phonics levels. 
On the Spelling Clouds you can see the Sound Pic/s covered within the 4 Code Levels. So the Sound Pics INSIDE the clouds are the ones you are exploring during the Speedy Six.

SSP Snap and Crack (leading to Cracking Comprehension)
This is a quick activity that can be used with 1 student or a whole class, regardless of Code Level/ reading fluency. Snap a photo of a page from a decodable reader, put it up on the whiteboard, number the lines,
and away you go !  

SSP Rapid Writing / Writing for a Purpose
Rapid writing is a 5 minute activity you can use before any writing activity !

This shows what we mean by 'writing in speech sound lines'.

Students are using 'lines and numbers' during the first Coding Poster Activity. They are using phonemic awareness to isolate phonemes, segment (order) and blend. 

We want them to be able to write whole sentences in speech sound lines (at this point they do not need to draw the numbers)
If they can do this quickly, we know their brains are 'wired' to 
be able to spell REALLY well ! 

Writing whole paragraphs in speech sound lines (and then going back to 'read' it) also gives them the opportunity to practice writing sentences with any words, quickly, as they are not tempted to stick to the words they know, or slow down to think about how to spell each word. It may be difficult to understand why this is so powerful, so come and watch it in action ! Try it for yourself - it will test your spelling skills, without you even writing any words :-) 

So put up an interesting image, so the students want to TALK - to each other, not just to the teacher :-) As a group they then think of a short sentence, and the group writes that sentence in speech sound lines. 
They go back and read it, to check they have enough lines (or if they have too many sounds !) and THEN start filling it in with Speech Sound Pics ! 
So simple, the kids love it, and you are also working on vocabulary, punctuation and sentence construction.  

The fish caught a cat!
The fish caught a cat!

SSP Code Mapped
Text to show the
phoneme to 
grapheme links.
Start with black
and carry on, as
if speaking (don't
start each word
in black)

More about
High Frequency Words, using a 'Speech to Print' Approach. Learning 'Sight Words'...