I LOVE teaching little ones. Being able to read changes brain connections; reading heightens brain connectivity.
Before the Early Reading Centre opens I'll be teaching just few children (aged 2 - 4) and sharing their sessions - what a great keepsake for parents!
I'm not sure anyone else is as obsessed with children being able to read (actually reading, for meaning, not just decoding CVC words)
Be part of something ground-breaking - before we offer this to everyone at the ERC, and I share how I do it with the world.
Reading helps improve parts of the brain related to language and empathy, and the WAY I teach children to read gets them excited about LEARNING.
aka 'The Reading Whisperer'!
I Can Read Without You (ICRWY)
Early Learning System for two, three and four year olds - Reading Ready Brains!
Reading cannot be achieved by memorising words on flashcards
ICRWY in the Early Years; understanding how 2,3 and 4 year olds learn to read (and preventing them from struggling at school).
We know how important it is to rewire dyslexic brains for orthographic learning in the early years; children need Reading Ready Brains, and Miss Emma knows how to do this in ways children love! (they think they are just playing with Speech Sound Monsters!)
Early intervention is life changing.
"The first 5 years have so much to do with how the next 80 turn out." - Bill Gates
In a world where 'what to teach' (as if children learn in the same way, at the same pace) is the primary focus of an education system, Learning Whisperers® are different; we focus on each child. We know what every child needs, to learn to read (the Science of Reading) but they are not computers to be programmed. Our connection with learners is at the heart of how we guide each unique child towards independence, confidence and MASTERY (the Science of Learning)
Let's merge teaching, neuroscience and psychology into a single, unified Science of Reading. In Australia I had a vision of collaborating with teachers as 'action researchers' with classrooms as 'learning labs' as seen on Speech SoundPics.com
I wanted to do things differently - developing solutions with teachers, rather than asking them to follow my approach without question - I wanted their feedback and involvement. I faced blocks at every step of the way - not from teachers, but from school leaders, policy makers, politicians and groups promoting and selling specific programs. Trying to push forward, regardless, came at a price. I admit that when I returned to the UK I was a shell of my previous confident, independent, creative self. Despite the results I could not face 'offering' my work to KS1 teachers. Fighting for 'more' than commercial, prescriptive synthetic phonics programs was not something I felt ready to take on. I can learn more with children in the early years however! And this, after all, is a return to a previous life! When working with children BEFORE they start KS1 I can do so much - the work may even start some important conversations...
However, a valuable lesson learned in Australia was that I cannot do this alone. I need a fellow researcher (Grace!) and experienced business mentor and coach, and to build a great team around us, to be able to build something sustainable, and that can positively impact on as many lives as possible. My mission is not just to ensure that every child reads early, but that we rethink HOW children are being taught, and how we can change the learning environment in order to more fully embrace the neurodiverse classroom.
Miss Emma BEd Hons. MA SEN
Inspiring teachers to be Learning Whisperers®, Explorers of Hearts & Minds.
‘I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.’ –Albert Einstein
In Australia I launched the Speech Sound Pics (SSP) Approach as a way to share my techniques and ideas with Reception and Year 1 Teachers. It is not 'Synthetic Phonics' however, so it hasn't been launched in the UK for KS1.
Visit Miss Emma in Dorset. She loves children and
dogs - often combining the two within her work!
“Petting, Scratching, And Cuddling A Dog Could Be As Soothing To The Mind As Deep Meditation And Almost As Good For The Soul As Prayer” – Dean Koontz
Add in a favourite story, that you can read yourself, and life is pretty darned wonderful. Miss Emma
ICRWY Reading Therapy Dogs.
ICRWY Learning Whisperers® can identify those 3 - 5 year olds at risk of literacy difficulties, for example dyslexia, and offer an early intervention that rewires brains for orthographic learning.
Being able to say 'I Can Read Without You' is magical! Learners start school independent, confident and with improved language skills. Parents and carers understand how they learn, and can guide the school if necessary.
Puppy in Training!
Play is the primary way children's brains are designed to learn.
More than 1 in 4 children in the UK cannot read before Grade 6.
Learning Whisperers are being trained to send children to school with Reading Ready Brains.
“Learning Whisperers are educators, cheerleaders and guides who make themselves progressively unnecessary.” Miss Emma
Join us! The ICRWY
Early Dyslexia Screening and Literacy Intervention Project (EDSLiP) for 2,3 and 4 year olds
ICRWY Training &
Implement ICRWY Activities
Become an ICRWY Product Stockist and support Early Reading for Pleasure
Train with Miss Emma to learn the ICRWY system, and become a specialist Learning Whisperer®...maybe even a Dyslexia Whisperer®
The way we teach children to read is engaging; inspiring and motivating them to read for pleasure.
When I Look Into The Eyes Of An Animal I Do Not See An Animal. I See A Living Being. I See A Friend. I Feel A Soul. - AD. Williams
Emma Hartnell-Baker AKA Miss Emma managed 2 'Outstanding' nurseries for 8 years and is a former OFSTED Inspector.
She has a Masters Degree in Special Educational Needs
and is currently completing doctoral studies, to be a 'Doctor of Education'
In addition to Reading Ready Brains for the early years
Miss Emma offers DIFFERENT Training.
ICRWY Learning Whisperers®...sharing their ability to engage and inspire.
Do you naturally connect with learners on a deep level, and instinctively understand what they need, to understand a skill or concept? Get in touch! Let's create a community of Learning Whisperers® Are exceptional teachers born or made? Or do they 'make themselves'? (Moore, 2004 6)
"...even the most brilliant scientists may not know how to communicate their knowledge to children." -Jay Mathews (Mathews 2002)
Some of the best teachers are CHILDREN who have gone through the
ICRWY 'Reading Ready Brains' (Early Orthographic Learning) System with Miss Emma!
Kensi was reading for pleasure before she turned 4
We will be creating an ICRWY network - and are looking for children who have gone through the ICRWY Early Learning System to lead sessions and inspire others!
“The best advice I ever got was that knowledge is power and to keep reading.” -David Bailey
Director, The Reading Hut Ltd
I am a British Australian! Proud to be a dual passport holder. After ten years in Australia, working with some absolutely amazing teachers and families, I am again living in the UK - in Dorset- and return to Australia as often as possible, to deliver training and visit schools using my approach and strategies. Although I was doing this once a term, Sam is now old and frail, and becomes distressed when I leave him. My priority has to be making sure he is as comfortable and happy as possible, for the remaining time he has left.
'Rory started his learning journey in a new pilot I ran with predominantly Aussie 2 - 4 year olds in 2020. Rory was 4 and due to start school a few months later.
The main concern was not just the clear early signs of dyslexia, and that most schools in Australia are not equipped to meet the needs of neurodivergent learners, but that Rory was already doubting his ability as a learner. I needed to build his confidence and emotional resilience.'
A Message from Rory's Mum. (ICRWY Pilot in Australia in 2020)
When our eldest son was in Grade 3 he was diagnosed with dyslexia. Unfortunately by then, the damage was done, his reading age was assessed as being below the age of six (he was 8.5 at the time). The most heartbreaking part of his journey was the devastating effect it had on his self-esteem.
The psychologist at the time introduced me to the Speech Sound Pics SSP Approach, which turned out to be life-changing! Under Miss Emma's guidance, we cleared the slate and started his journey again at home after school. He warmed very quickly to the approach and in just five weeks he had increased six reading levels. I am extremely proud to announce that he is now in Grade 6 and reading at grade level!!
In fact, he is doing so well that in his LP meeting recently I was questioned whether he even had a learning disability.
This brings us to Rory, our youngest. From a young age, he showed signs of possessing the same strengths and weaknesses as his older brother. Not willing to sit back and watch him suffer the same fate we jumped at the chance to be part of the ICRWY pilot, he was two months shy of his fifth birthday at the time.
Now at six he is doing so well, this video is proof of that. This is Rory reading his home reader to me. So proud and so very grateful for Miss Emma and SSP ICRWY
Learning to read is a challenging task that requires persistence and motivation. Dweck suggests that enjoyment of reading and motivation to master tasks may be two manifestations of academic resilience. Goal-oriented students tend to be academically resilient and exhibit higher levels of confidence than others, and they are likely to seek challenges and be persistent. We are not just ensuring that they learn to read, but that they are motivated to read, and intrinsically motivated to learn. The Learning Whisperer is as focused on the learning journey as the learning outcomes.
When Rory started the pilot he had already figured out (at 4!) that he couldn't understand the phonics being taught in his nursery. Although he could memorise the 'letter sounds' and do an action - eg running his hand up and down his arms saying a a a a a - (for 'ants' - and as an Aussie he doesnt' use that 'sound' when he says that word) he couldn't work out the connection between speech sounds and writing as he couldn't easily blend the sounds, to figure out the whole word. He also couldn't give the sounds in a word - although he was only ever asked 'first' or 'last' sound, and could guess or copy the other kids. It seemed to make sense to the other kids- why not him? And so his pre-school teacher had commented on his lack of engagement and interest. Few of us engage or are interested in something that makes no sense to us (and we feel stupid for not understanding)
I taught Mummy how to use simple but powerful techniques - eg 'Speedy Paired Code Mapping' and 'Duck Hands' and was sent videos for support and feedback. I could then track progress. I train Learning Whisperers to use the activities to screen for dyslexia and offer an intervention - so that kids like Rory not only go to school with brains 'rewired' for orthographic learning, but that they experience success - every day. No amount of kind and supportive words could match the feelings associated with actually being able to do the activities. Without the ICRWY pilot in 2020 Rory would be feeling (and behaving) very differently.
Learning Whisperers identify the blending issues, and understand the signifiance
Parents and Teachers Learning the
Speech Sound Monster Routine at a workshop
Kensi - 2 Years Old - Learning about Speech Sound Monsters
Children learn by exploring the world around them.
It’s the things we play with and the people who help us play that make a great difference in our lives. ”
Less Teaching, More Learning
- Learning Whisperers Approach
Children LOVE playing with the ICRWY speech sound puppets! Learning to speak, listen, sing and read with a Learning Whisperer is FUN!
ICRWY Learning Whisperers® - Services in Dorset, UK
As we train more Learning Whisperers® to we will spread out, across the UK. And then internationally. We need all children to have 'Reading Ready Brains' before they start school!
Our mission? To improve global literacy by not only screening 3-5 year olds for dyslexia but overcoming issues preventing orthographic learning BEFORE children enter the UK education system (which is currently a long way from meeting the learning and emotional needs of children, especially if neurodivergent) Over 1 in 4 children leave UK primary schools unable to read.
Our mission is not only to ensure that all can read, but that they WANT to read for reasons that enhance and improve their lives. Some will want to learn more about the things that interest them, some will discover their favourite authors...the CHOICE is the point. As we tell children 'it's all about YOU', and that they are able to say 'I Can Read Without You' as early as possible.
Reading Ready Brains more easily develop into Reading Brains!
Speech Sound Monsters on a train in China! (Almost 2)
Spencer figuring out the spelling of 'careful' (4 yrs old)
3 years old
'I Can Read Without You'
ICRWY Early Orthographic Learning System.
We send children to school with Reading Ready Brains!
“The greatest gift is a passion for reading.” -Elizabeth Hardwick
Although no child is the same, boys can find learning to read at school too slow-paced, and they disengage if having to 'sit' for too long. Girls have traditionally outperformed them in KS1 (because of the way taught- not because they are less capable) I admit that - because I have visited hundreds of schools and observed thousands of 5 year olds learning in a classroom setting - I try really hard to to ensure that every boy I teach is reading asap - before they start school! - as they will find more and more things to engage them as they get older and more reasons to avoid learning to read. I want them reading, and to enjoy books of their choice, by 5.
Reading for pleasure before starting
KS1 / primary school has far-reaching
Far too few children (around half!) do not read for pleasure. Many can't read.
There is a gender gap on both counts.
Let's change that - by screening for dyslexia and offering the intervention BEFORE they enter the education system, and think reading is difficult, a 'chore' or 'boring'.
The type of reading is also a worry. By far the most popular reading that children and young people do in their free time is text/direct messages (92.4%) followed by in-game communications (87.4%) Literacy Trust data
Using the I Can Read Without You ICRWY Lessons app with Miss Emma
Cognitive inflexibility may prevent poor comprehenders from attending to structural and meaning-focused features of print simultaneously, even though both are necessary for successful comprehension. Alternatively, deficiencies in metalinguistic skills that enable readers to reflect on structural aspects of print may also account for poor comprehenders’ difficulties and could partially explain the contribution of cognitive flexibility to these students’ comprehension problems.
Profiles of struggling readers consistently suggest that some students have difficulties with reading comprehension, despite adequate decoding skills and language comprehension. Executive functions are cognitive control processes, such as working memory, cognitive flexibility, and inhibition, that support individuals’ goal-directed behaviours like reading comprehension. Cognitive flexibility contributes uniquely to reading comprehension beyond other executive functions. Graphophonological–semantic cognitive flexibility (GSF), the ability to actively switch between graphophonological and semantic components of printed words, especially contributes to reading comprehension.
Cognitive flexibility may be particularly important for understanding the difficulties of poor comprehenders who often struggle to shift their focus from decoding processes to meaning while engaged with texts.