The Speech Sound Pics (SSP) Approach to reading, writing and spelling - using a systematic, scaffolded and also FUN child centred (inquiry learning) style approach.
Wiring Brains for Reading and Spelling- SSP Spelling Clouds
Spelling Clouds -
clarification of the most
(This info is for adults, children 'get it'
really quickly when using SSP)
In the majority of cases the speech sounds we use in our words are represented on paper using
Speech Sound Pics, that can consist of 1 or more letters – eg h/eigh/t.
Some sound pics represent more than one speech sound.
Students are introduced to this concept from the
Purple Code Level
Sometimes (3 times) more than one speech sound is represented by one Speech Sound Pics (that
can consist of more than 1 letter)
~ the sound pic 'qu' represents two speech sounds (k/w)
~the sound pic 'x' represents two speech sounds (k/s)
There is another cloud, which we use to do this
~ the sound pic 'ear' is actually two speech sounds (ea/u)
However children can choose to split the word d/ee/r in the same way that they can choose to use
the Special Ending Clouds
- tion (instead of sh/u/n)
The focus is not on trying to teach this to children, but to guide them to discover it while learning to
read and spell.
In Prep, especially, the clouds are used predominantly for incidental learning, which going through
the explicit teaching order (learning 90 or so of the most commonly used sound pics) See image with
SSP Levels at top. However, as a school, it is a great idea to cover the speech sounds throughout the
year, with classes collecting items linked with the speech sound, and finding their sound pic. This
supports Speech Sound Detective work.
I’ve heard some people say that they teach 'rules' like 'c makes the sss sound when followed by
I,e,y...' This would be useless for spelling new words, as you don't know what comes after it. So you
need to know what ‘looks right,’ more so than ‘why’.
What you find with SSP is that every child is reading independently and fluently BEFORE they even
enter year 2, and you can show them these kinds of things.
But they don't need to be 'taught' them as a way to read and spell. Just as you don't need to be
taught how construct sentences orally - by doing it, you soon recognise which sounds right, and
which don't- even without a degree in the origins of English.
Teaching rules is a waste of time in most cases, as you miss so many kids (who won’t retain it, or
transfer the knowledge when needed) and in so many cases they don't work. Then what?
When you are teaching ‘rules’ make it meaningful and fun, so that the links are formed (brain
eg ‘the Speech Sound Frog eats the e for his tea, when you add an i n g
Video for students - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pkt7ozEN810
I still remember, from my early childhood, ‘I before e except after c’ as it rhymes.
When you discover a pattern, get the students to create a poem or develop a ‘visual’.
Using SSP children can read really quickly and easily (before the end of Prep) and then their brains
see more words - this leads to the recognition of patterns, and what 'looks right', along with us
guiding them to see certain things, when they are ready.
Amy (2S - see video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4A_L9fOOww ) read 'raspberry'
independently, but had not previously recognized that 'sp' represented the 'zzz' speech sound, until
she played Speech Sound Detective. Children in Prep found that the 'z' in Jatz represents a 'sss'
speech sound - even though they knew the word they have not made that link.
Which looks 'right' to you..
Can you tell me WHY? Probably not.
And if you can, smarty pants, then explain Burleigh Heads.
Gets so much more difficult when you keep trying to explain WHY.
The Speech Sound King decided to spell it that way, that's why.
And yes, all words in the English language can be decoded using SSP, except ‘one’ and ‘once’. Go
through the Duck Levels and find out!
Emma Hartnell-Baker BEd Hons. MA Special Educational Needs
The Reading Whisperer