When to move from decodable readers to 'leveled' readers, like Fountas and Pinnell (F&P)?

Speech Sound Pics (SSP) teachers, using data, have demonstrated when their students are ready to move on from controlled texts, within which the words are carefully chosen to reduce the number of 'irregular' graphemes. Within our Code Level texts these books align with the systematic teaching of the high frequency graphemes. They use the Code level readers to reinforce blending of these graphemes. But when do they move on to 'leveled readers' (often sorted into book bands) and when are they ready to be benchmarked?

Speech Sound Pics (SSP) Approach teachers have been collecting data and demonstrating a correlation between progressions through the systematic and sequential SSP Code level and Duck Level (HFW) learning phase with F&P / levelled readers / books bands / PM benchmarking for over 5 years. The correlations are consistent. See more about this here They move though the 4 Code Levels, learning high frequency graphemes using our technology. Parents and carers support this by downloading the SSP Monster Mapping app to their phones or tablets. It is available in the app store and google play. Search 'SSP Monster Mapping;. School version also available.

The children are mapping phonemes to graphemes when reading and writing.

The SSP Spelling Piano app and other resources help reinforce Code Knowledge. Over 80% can pass the UK Phonics Screener Check before the end of their first year of school. I will write more about this in my next blog post. Children are able to LEARN more quickly, and at their pace. There is no 'front of the class' teaching, as with synthetic phonics programmes. No children are left behind because the Speech Sound Pics (SSP) Approach routines ARE the early intervention for difficulties. Children use Speedy Paired Decoding with Code Level Readers, then watch their Code Level video (SSP Monster Mapping app) and then do the Coding Poster. They do the same activities, at the same time, but at their Code Level. The teacher is a guide for that 30 minutes of the day, getting out of their way - they can get on with learning and using the high frequency graphemes.

So when at the phase of reading at the SSP Blue Code Level- using phonics as the primary (but not ONLY) strategy - they are able to start 'levelled' readers and be Benchmarked. They can start at around PM 10 - 12 - and when they have completed the Blue Code Level you will find that they can benchmark at PM 20+

Indeed, this is imperative, if we are to consider the science of reading, and theories of reading development. This is outlined in The Reading Ape's blog here I disagree with the idea that If a child starts guessing words…stop. We want children to try to figure out words using 'cues' if they do not have the grapheme knowledge, HOWEVER they then work backwards and figure out the mapping. We USE that guessing - while also ensuring that this is only a strategy used for a small percentage of the text. If not, change the text. I actually develop this skill from the early stages, using the Speech Sound Detective. The children using this Green Code Level reader are working on s a t p i n However they can figure out this word, and THEN figure out which 'sound units' the unfamiliar graphemes represent.

Liv demonstrates this - she figured out the word from context and vocabulary knowledge, and THEN works backwards to ascertain the phoneme to grapheme mapping.

This is self-teaching' (Share) Look how proud she is! And yet I was recently told by the DfE that this is not in line with policy, because Synthetic Phonics is their recommended approach. Resources must NOT include graphemes they do not yet know, and high frequency word teaching must align with the words in the books. There is no mention of what they do when they want to write. I strongly disagree with the advice the DfE is giving teachers. The highest number of children will not be reading to learn by grade 2, and a desire to 'read for pleasure' will be reduced for too many. There is data in this regard, if you would like to check. Searching 'reading levels; and 'reading for pleasure' in the UK and you will find some really useful web sites. It's quite the worry for many. I discussed this in a recent facebook post. Imagine if researchers and policy makers were to come and see my work, and try to understand it? At the moment I demonstrate how to meet the needs of the highest number of students, and facilitate easier and faster learning, about 5 - 8 years ahead of when this becomes 'considered' by academics and researchers. In the meantime I'm adapting and improving - we help more, and they read (for pleasure) faster. Teachers are far more interested in my work than policy makers or academics - they 'get' it far more easily, as they know kids. And is it not ironic that I am not allowed to join SoR groups? As soon as I start to share my work I am removed, and my findings dismissed. Even when data from hundreds of teachers prove that my work is valid. This started in Australia almost a decade ago when I questioned synthetic phonics, instead promoting systematic phonics, when I questioned the teaching of syllable division rules, sight words as whole words, benchmarking before the children have an adequate foundation... things that SoR groups are now asking teachers to embrace (and adopt, to change their practice) As The Reading Ape claimed Children’s writers write narratives to engage children and entice parents to part with their money, not to help children to develop orthographic processing However Publishers can now 'Code Map' their books, to ALSO help children develop orthographic processing, as we are doing with 1,2,3 and Away! and The Griffin Pirate Stories etc I am creating solutions that take account of the reading development continuum, according to the science, AND to move us forwards. I may even be creating new theory. Imagine that - me, a regular teacher, challenging existing theory and creating new solutions to existing problems. Imagine the possibilities when publishers can Code Map their books, and visually represent that underlying orthography, for ALL texts. Children can explore a wider range of texts, far earlier!

Miss Emma

BEd Hons, MA SEN Doctoral Student, University of Reading (that cracks me up every time) Director of The Reading Hut Ltd Publishing resources to promote orthographic processing, and the ultimate aim that children are 'reading for pleasure' by 6.

Limited Edition - One, Two, Three and Away! Introductory Books A - P (16 books)

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