Day 1 of the ICRWY Pre-School Pilot August 2020

Spencer has just turned 4. His favourite thing to do is BUILD!  He loves LEGO, magnet blocks, marble runs... you name it, he can build it! He even makes towers out of the sausage wheels on his dinner plate  He also likes trains, books and idolises his big sister, Dorothy.

Speech to Print Orthographic Learning Journey Diary.

Miss Emma has been supporting parents in teachers in Australia for over a decade, teaching them to use 'Duck Hands' and to 'Speak in Speech Sounds'!  

Spencer took part in the 2020 Pilot. A group of 50+ 2 - 4-year-olds joined a private support group and were taken through the lessons you can now see in the ICRWY app. Parents shared videos of their children doing these activities; this was important as Miss Emma could give specific and personalised support. Most were in Australia and so Miss Emma supported them online as she was in the UK. 
Watch Spencer's learning journey below! Miss Emma was training parents to use Speech Sound Pics (SSP) a home in the early years - a Speech to Print Approach (and early intervention for speech and language difficulties as well as Specific Learning Differences (SpLD) including ADHD and developmental dyslexia). 

Miss Emma is keen to implement an early intervention in UK nurseries, as she has some concerns about whether the needs of neurodivergent children will be effectively and fully met when DfE validated Systematic Synthetic Phonics programmes are used to teach phonics. Please do sign up for the lecture series delivered by Emma Hartnell-Baker and Dr Grace Elliott, and specifically 'Potential Issues for Dyslexic Students Being Taught using a Validated SSP Programme in KS1' within which these issues will be discussed. 

When UK nurseries implement the ICRWY Project programme any children at risk of speech, reading and spelling difficulties will be identified and issues overcome BEFORE they even start school in most cases. Reports will be written by Specialist SpLD Assessors working with us, and systems put in place to support the child and family as they transition to school, ensuring that the school SENco (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) is fully informed of their learning needs and has a plan in place before the first day of school. Parents receive ongoing support for as long as they need us. 

Through The Reading Hut Ltd we are developing a range of ICRWY early intervention programs and will be conducting research in order to more widely advocate for inclusion and provide play-based solutions. 
Miss Emma, with a Masters Degree in Special Education Needs, and currently completing doctoral studies in the UK, is neurodivergent. As a Doctor of Education, she will do everything possible to 'build strong children'.
If you would like to get involved, please go get in touch! 


Week 1**🚧 - Spencer learnt to identify the first 6 monsters and their sounds. The monsters got involved in all of our play which helped him to get familiarised quickly. He blended his first word T/A/P.

Monster Mapping Handbook Print File (1)_Page_01.jpg

🚧**Week 2**🚧
Spencer used the SSP monster sounds app to explore the sounds in his name and we introduced the visual prompt chart with monsters. Most of this week was spent playing fun games to practice “following the monster sounds to say the word” (blending). The monster mega blocks were a hit! Spencer also watched the phase 1 rap.

Mummy's homework

🚧**Week 3**🚧 Spencer and I have had lots of SSP fun this week. Spencer is getting lots more confident with blending now. The visual prompt chart with monsters has been our best friend. We even have a copy stuck to the shower screen! Most of our best learning has happened when I have let him invent funny games and let him lead the activities. He has also been practicing building words using the monster routine (sometimes using white board and sometimes mega blocks with monsters stuck to them). Our most exciting moment this week was seeing how he organised and used the week 3 booklet without any instruction from me! We discovered he was ready for sound pics!I

A little bit of monster routine with breakfast

Found Spencer playing this game that he invented with his sister Dorothy


.This morning before kindy we squeezed in a quick game of monster charades (S/A/T/P/I/N) and a match the word to visual prompt game...

🚧**Week 4**🚧 another busy week of fun games! Spencer has been very interested in the rap this week and is looking at the chart with monsters and sound pics. He showed interest in the sound pic tracing chart so we have been starting some writing too....and he even read some green words (much to the surprise of Mummy and Daddy) from the big coding poster 😳 We really can’t believe the progress he is making and feel very grateful to Miss Emma for giving us this opportunity!

Today we had fun hunting for dinosaurs with words in our garden 🦖


🚧**Week 5**🚧 This week started with some checkpoint activities from Miss Emma. This was a great way of working out Spencer’s SSP strengths and the areas that we need to practice more. We have worked on typing his name into the monster sound app (which he can now do without using his name card as a reference)... and the monster routine. By the middle of this week Spencer was able to get through a full monster routine from lines through to writing the word. We will now continue to practice to make this process faster and more streamlined. He has definitely found the reading (decoding) much easier than the spelling (encoding). This week he is showing lots of interest in reading the pocket rockets and blending new monster sounds to make new words.

What a fun way to end week 4!!!! Woolworths have their new freebies to collect... so I thought I would cash in on the excitement 😉

Week 5 'Check Point'

Checkpoint 1: say the monster sounds using the strip

Checkpoint 2: point to the visual prompt on the chart

Checkpoint 3: follow the monster sounds to say the word on the visual prompt chart

Checkpoint 4: form the first 6 letters, saying the letter formation phrases. *Note- he practices by tracing them at start, then forms his own letters at end of video. I haven’t done much writing practice with him because I wasn’t sure if he was ready.... but he loved this activity!

Checkpoint 5: form numbers 1-5 using the number chart. *Note- This is the first time we have used this resource Miss Emma. Hence, we helped him with the phrases. He has enjoyed having a go at some writing today 👍🏻

Checkpoint 6: phase 1 monster routine. *Note: far from his best effort Miss Emma but you will see he is a little tired today. I was proud of him for doing it despite this 🥱

Checkpoint 7: can they find the right monster word card and duck hand?

Checkpoint 8: can they sing the first line of the rap from memory... while naked? Yes! 😂

Checkpoint 9: can they find the monsters for their name and play it in app? *Note: he also had a go at duck handing his name at end of this clip.

Checkpoint 10: can they trace their name and duck hand? (Please see previous video for duck handing).

Checkpoint 11: surprise video from Miss Emma. My Dorothy was busting to watch the video ‘present’ too... and wasn’t happy about the muddled up numbers! Sorry Miss Emma, at first I thought it must have been a mistake

We sure did hit the ground running this morning Miss Emma!. Mummy didn’t even have a chance to change out of her pj’s before S was into the monster routine. I know it’s not perfect but this was his very first time that he wanted to do the whole routine and drew his own lines and numbers! I couldn’t remember the number poems. Will have to practice them some more, but it felt like good progress ☺️

Sept 20th 2020

‘What’s under the hat?’ We are going to try playing our own version of this game tomorrow 👍🏻

Code levels Intro video: PART 1

🚧**Week 6**🚧 There have been 3 main focus’ this week...
1. We introduced the purple level chant. Spencer is becoming quite familiar with this now as we have watched it most mornings.
2. Getting to know all of the monsters. Spencer now knows all of the green and purple monsters and quite a few others as well. We watch the 2 minute monster video every morning also.
3. Duck handing green and purple words without any visual aids. We have been doing this every time we drive in the car and Spencer is really benefiting from this practice. I still have to remind him occasionally to slow down his duck hands to get the correct number of sounds.

Spencer is enjoying speedy paired decoding of book from Miss Emma’s online bookshelf... but also with some of our more simple board books at home. It’s almost automatic now when we pick up a book to read 

Code levels Intro video: PART 2 (We accidentally hit restart on video half way through, so I stopped filming while I found where we were up to. Sorry)

Green AND purple level chants. Check out the little glance across just to check if his sister was watching. He felt very special doing the purple monsters! ☺️

Teaching Daddy all about the monsters for Father’s Day 🙂

My babies sharing a little moment reading together. This made my heart sing Miss Emma. You are playing such an important role in their development. Thank you for all that you are doing for us 🙏

Spencer’s grandmother is visiting us at the moment and he was bursting with pride showing her that he can build PURPLE words! 😉 It’s been great hearing him explain it all to her. I spotted him showing her a sound cloud for one of the monsters in his name and pointing out the sound pic choice (e) for spEncer 👍🏻


Spencer teaching Poppy about the monsters 💗
Sept 13 2020

Sunday monster games with M/i/m/i and P/o/p! Monster Memory

Our sound cloud wall cards have arrived and Spencer could not be more excited!! He is so interested Miss Emma... we can’t wait to put them up on our play room wall. I quickly grabbed the mirror and plonked it in front of him for this session, just to let him see himself duckhanding. I will try and do it with an iPad soon as well 👍🏻

Getting very familiar with the monsters now!

Purple level sound pics and words

Bedtime Reading

Practicing duck handing green and purple words without any visual aids. Spencer is still duck handing super fast Miss Emma. Not quite sure why? He also seems to naturally want to use duck fingers more than duck hands...

When following the ICRWY program with Miss Emma's support parents follow the activities, and also ask questions - this is how they learn to be Learning Whisperers!  

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🚧**Week 7**🚧 Wow.., how is it week 7 of the project already?! Our goals for this week are as follows:
1. Read all green and purple level pocket rockets in bookcase... then have a look at Kensi’s words and Roger Red Hat.
2. Watch 2 minute monster moves and chant video daily
3. Keep practicing duck hands without aids. I am trying to get him to slow down his duck hands and make them bigger.
4. Monster routine game (with some purple words)

End of week Summary- Spencer has loved the new readers. He is getting very familiar with all of the monsters now and he is much better at duck handing the longer green words. He has mastered step one of routine and has tried the poster properly (with timer). Looking forward to some creative SSP games for the school holidays - week 8&9. I should also add, that Spencer has done lots of exploring this week of the sound clouds. He has a much better grasp of the fact that there are many different sound pics that can represent each monster. Some have more letters than others etc... and he can find the schwa in words 👍🏻

More here soon

Refresh when you return and see how Spencer explored the written code, before even starting school! All clips will be uploaded.
Here, Spencer is exploring the word 
May 2022 He is now 5.