Spelling Clouds - Speech Sound Pics (SSP) Approach

The International Phonetic Alphabet is an alphabetic system of phonetic notation devised by the International Phonetic Association as a standardised representation of the sounds of spoken language. Phonetic symbols, therefore, represent a speech sound, and each SSP 'Speech Sound Monster' is an alternative to one of these phonetic symbols. ​They are phonetic symbols for kids! Rather than learning phonetic symbols, children learn the Monsters, and all have their own personalities, movement, and music. Young children develop an awareness of the English speech sounds we use, and how to 'talk on paper' in a playful, fun way. Reading and writing for pleasure is key. 
Monster Mapping is used within the 

'I Can Read Without You' program.  

Speech Sound Camera- taking pictures of speech sounds
Speech Sound Pics (SSP) Approach from Miss Emma


The monster characters are ‘phonetic symbols for kids’ Skyla is 4, and exploring words using a ‘speech to print’ approach.

There are words with ‘irregular’ spelling patterns that may be difficult to work out in the early stages. Eg the a in the word ‘orange’ or ‘many’. The letter a represents at least 8 speech sounds.

So we take a ‘speech to print’ approach. They use the ‘phonetic symbols for kids’ to blend the sounds, so they know the word.

THEN they look at the word. 

In this activity I wanted them to recognise the phonemes that map to the grapheme /a/ in these words. They can find it in the Spelling Clouds.

Imagine the other way round - print to speech - explaining it. This way round the kids don’t need to be told as the activity means they figure it out. They then look at the words and this is what orthographic mapping is all about - recognising the patterns, and storing in long term memory.

You NEED phonetic symbols for kids to do this. And why I created the Speech Sound Monsters.

As with phonetic symbols, they do not link with a letter (unless in a word) and the kids don’t need to remember an image or emoji - eg look at a bee to think of the ee sound. Those rely on the child understanding how an adult linked their pic to the target phoneme, and having the PA to understand which sound (eg the second sound in the word bee) They don’t have to look at a train and remember if the sound is ‘tuh’- the first in the spoken word - or the ‘ch’ because the train says choo choo!

Do this when exploring commonly used words, eg from Fry or Dolch.

Follow my work in