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Emma Hartnell-Baker is working with a wide range of organisations in England to unlock the literacy and language learning of neurodivergent minds. For example, Alf, a fabulous autistic 8-year-old: she has introduced Speech Sound Mapping under his EHC plan, in Bournemouth, and they can be seen here exploring words. MyWordz launches to the public next month! Anyone can do this - at home, in nursery, or in school!

Miss Emma continues to support parents and teachers across Australia who are using her Speech Sound Pics Approach.

The Speech Sound Pics (SSP) Approach is a linguistic phonics and spelling whole-class programme that covers everything expected in a synthetic phonics and whole-school spelling programme but is understood (mastered) in half the time.

There is an initial 'Phase 1' (Phonemic Awareness Mastery stage), and then children work through the four Code Levels and seven 'Duck Levels' (HFWs) at their own pace.

It was designed to engage all learners from day one! SSP is neuro-inclusive.

Emma Hartnell-Baker has designed the world’s first one-screen AAC device for non-speaking children who cannot yet read and spell, as well as Map and Drag to orthographically map words and 'glue together' the speech, spelling, and meaning of words in the orthographic lexicon.

She is passionate about early intervention and is launching the Immunisation Against Illiteracy initiative in Dorset to 'screen and intervene' before children even turn three.

'Miss Emma' 

Relevant Experience

Known as 'Miss Emma' throughout her career, highlights have included breakthrough Code Mapping Tools, grapheme markers, and Spelling Clouds to collect and display all spelling choices for each English speech sound. Here, a young autistic 5-year-old is proudly demonstrating his knowledge of 'the code'

Emma Hartnell-Baker- Teacher, Teacher Trainer and Speech Sound Mapping Therapist

Emma Hartnell-Baker: Experienced EY Teacher, Team Leader, and SEN Teacher Trainer
- Project Lead : an Immunisation Against Illiteracy.

2024 to Present: Early Dyslexia Screening 
Director and Project Lead: Immunisation Against Illiteracy
Leading a new initiative focused on early detection and screening for dyslexia among young children, guiding the organisation's strategy and operations.

2023 to Present: Innovate UK Grant Winner - NextGen 'One Screen' AAC - MySpeekie!
Project Lead. Spearheading the development of the 'One Screen' AAC technology under an Innovate UK grant, focusing on creating accessible communication solutions. MySpeekie


2020 to Present: The Reading Hut Ltd


2009 - 2018: Read Australia
Project Lead
Led the development of the Speech Sound Pics (SSP) Approach for Prep and Year 1, focusing on reading and spelling, incorporating visual and linguistic phonics for whole school literacy improvement.


2008 - 2009: Emigrated to Queensland

  • Joined the Behaviour Advisory Team (short term post).

  • Started running phonics workshops for teachers, sharing findings from the Rose Report, the Australian Inquiry into the Teaching of Literacy, and the National Reading Panel.


2006 - 2008: OFSTED Inspector, EYFS
Role Summary: As an OFSTED Inspector for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), conducted rigorous inspections of early years education providers to ensure compliance with national standards. Responsibilities included evaluating the quality of education and care, observing teaching practices, reviewing learning outcomes, and providing detailed feedback and recommendations to enhance educational practices and outcomes.


2004 - 2006: Sure Start Centres - Advisory Role (Behaviour)

Behaviour Management - Teens in Care (Supporting a Charity)

2002 - 2004: Behaviour Support - Inner City School

1994 - 2002: Day Nursery Manager (2 Centres)
Managed long day care facilities catering to babies aged 6 weeks to preschool-aged children, including Before and After School Clubs. Achieved an 'Outstanding' rating by OFSTED for both centres.

1992 - 1994: Classroom Teacher (Infants)

Emma Hartnell-Baker - classroom teacher
Emma Hartnell-Baker - first year teaching after graduation!

Emma Hartnell-Baker's approach soon spread across Australia. Great school leaders were listening to teachers, who recognised that although phonics was essential, HOW children are exposed to the connections between spoken and written English makes a huge difference - and why she did not introduce systematic/synthetic/structured phonics - the Speech Sound Pics Approach included phonics, but it was 'linguistic' and 'visual', and only part of an approach that centres around exploring words for meaning and pleasure. This playful and purposeful approach was loved by teachers and children alike.  


"This is my experience over three years of SSP in a school with 72% EALD and each year two or three children beginning the year with no English. Children began school as long as they were turning five by 30 April, so some started at four years old. Always more boys than girls, as in most classes, and all the usual disabilities, learning difficulties, behaviour issues, under guardianship etc.
Average PM level at the end of the reception year was steady between 17 and 18. Around one-third of each class reached Blue Level, reached the highest PM level tested (25) and could recognise, read and spell all 450 or so Oxford List words (mandated check by school) by year's end.
I worried about those students who did not reach PM 15 by year's end.
Students at my current (different) school undertook the UK Phonics check as part of a pilot in South Australia.
In 2018 only 51% passed, and so I supported the introduction and implementation of SSP. After using the approach for 7 months testing was undertaken again in South Australia. This time students achieved an 85% pass. The average was 34 correct answers out of 40. Gains within learning support were as impressive. 
The approach is now being used school wide."   Teacher in South Australia

Emma Hartnell-Baker with Mrs K in South Australia

Emma Hartnell-Baker designs tools and activities to help children of all ages to not only connect spoken and written  English, but to WANT to read! 


University of Reading

Doctorate  (2021 to Present)

Phoneme to Grapheme Awareness Among Phonics Teachers: Investigating the Role of Orthographic Interference

University of Nottingham

Masters Degree in Special Educational Needs
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Behaviour Analysis
- Counselling
- Dyslexia

University of Worcester

Bachelor of Education with Honours (2:1) 
Primary Education with a Specialism in the Early Years 3 - 7 

A Message from Rory's Mum.

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 heart-breaking 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 'Monster Mapping' 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 her innovative ideas and approach.

“I found The Speech Sound Pics Approach SSP as a Reading Recovery teacher who was questioning the way I was being taught. I knew there had to be more than the 3 cueing system. I found Miss Emma! I started teaching the children in my class with the poster and with Fitzroy Decodable Texts. It had a profound effect in a low socioeconomic school. I no longer allow anyone in my room to answer “how do I spell .....?” I teach them to say “what can you hear?”
Students that struggled soon understood that all the answers were in the word and they started to crack the code.
I see a lot of information around now about the Science of Reading and I nod in agreement thinking Yes, that’s what Miss Emma says.
Th/a/n/k Y/ou M/i/ss E/mm/a”


“My son struggled in his first year in primary school (in Ireland) due to his dyslexia, he has since started the SSP program with Ms Rosser in his second year in school.

My mind is blown at how much his reading and writing has improved in a few short months.


Last week I recorded him reading a book on his own for the first time. His confidence is soaring and he now enjoys both school and doing homework. The SSP lessons have made an enormous impact on him.”

Emma Hartnell-Baker designs neuro-inclusive tools and activities to help children learn as independently (self-directed) as possible. This gives them a sense of freedom, they can MOVE a lot, and the teacher is freed up to give children more personalised help as and when needed.   

My school has been using SSP with amazing success since the end of 2014. I’m more than happy to chat (in the support group) and share our results. We don’t use PMs until they are working in the Blue level, but we see an average of PM 17-18 by the end of Kinder. Student phonemic awareness and ability to decode texts is amazing - no guessing strategies etc.
Teacher in NSW ​​​​

Jody – Teacher & Parent - I discovered SSP after feeling desperate when my prep age son said he was dumb and didn't want to go to year 1. I was devastated that prep was not the fun positive experience it was supposed to be and that as a teacher myself I could not help him - my usual teaching methods did not work (nor were they working for some of my students). I've been using SSP for a year now and in my enthusiasm and with my results I have many others excited about it too! My school including!

Sharon –  Teacher - I am definitely a huge fan of Miss Emma and the wonderful work that she and her SSP team have been doing for the children of this great nation. I began my introduction to SSP in late 2014 as I was looking for ways to support students who were experiencing difficulties wit their literacy skills. I am a NSW teacher so have also been down the (another program) road with minimal success. Last year I coordinated the implementation of the SSP program at my school in 5 K-2 classes.

Julie – SSP Teacher - I came across SSP about 2.5 years ago when I was doing Learning Support with children and felt like I was failing the children. I started to look into Dyslexia specific literacy and came across SSP. Have attended a number of the PD's, completed the Conductors Course, seen Emma in action at local schools and helped out on occasions when I worked part-time. I've used SSP in a Learning Support role and last year our school did SSP in Prep all year and 1 and 2 for part of the year. Our Admin is supportive and has invested in SSP and all teachers have been amazing willing to give something new a go. This year all our Prep, 1 and 2 classes will be doing the SSP 2 hour block and each class has a box set of resources along with decodable readers.


Carole – Year 4 SSP Teacher - I have been using SSP since T4 2014 in a Qld school North of Brisbane. Last year was a fantastic journey with my year 4's and I'm so looking forward to another great year. Thanks SSP team for your devotion to us. 


Sarah – I found SSP about halfway through 2014, in my first year of teaching. I was teaching Year 2 and had a significant number of students who were well under the expected level in literacy and were affected by a number of learning difficulties including dyslexia, ADHD and ASD. As I was essentially 'riding solo' in using SSP, I had to run it alongside the literacy curriculum that the school had in place. I saw so much improvement in the confidence of my students when it came to all areas of literacy which in turn saw excellent growth- with all students reaching or exceeding the expected standard at the end of year 2. This year I am working in special Ed with a challenging class. I am especially keen to implement SSP in my classroom this year and encourage other staff to begin using it too!! I'm excited to see how a whole year of SSP will see my students grow and develop!


Amanday – SSP Parent - I have a beautiful, courageous son with multiple disabilities who was so discouraged and anxious at school during his first term. There were many reasons, but one of his areas of anxiety stemmed from him only recognising a few letters and sounds, despite working incredibly hard. I withdrew him from school and homeschooled for a term using SSP. He's now back at (a different) school part time, and is at the expected level in his reading! We still use SSP at home. He's starting to love learning now. 

Zoe – I'm head of inclusive education at my school in Qld and have been using SSP as intervention with the children I support after experimenting with it as a classroom teacher and following the SSP journey for about 18mths. I am absolutely obsessed after seeing the amazing progress of my Students and results first hand. However my favourite thing about SSP is watching the children's confidence and self efficacy grow day after day. I am so excited as my school has agreed to implement it next year.


Tinity – I'm a Primary teacher who started using SSP in my Kinder class at the end of 2014 after attending a workshop. 
I used the full SSP approach with my K/1 class in 2015 and saw amazing results. Our school uses SSP from years K-4. I will never go back to teaching reading and writing the old way. 


Robyne – Teacher - I have been using SSP for the last year. I started just about as sceptical as possible and now I am like a crazy preacher lady  just ask anyone who raises the topic of early literacy in my presence. I have been teaching for almost 30 years and SSP has completely rejuvenated my teaching. It makes me excited to go to school and see what will happen next!

Maree – Teacher - Started researching SSP a year ago and taught it full on 2nd half of 2015 with amazing results.
Can't wait to see what I can achieve!!!

Kameryn – Hi, I'm a Prep Teacher in Mount Isa and we were introduced to SSP last year and the results blew us away!! So keen to start again with our Prep classes this year as well.

Helen – Prep SSP Teacher - I am a prep teacher on the Gold Coast. Our Prep team used elements of SSP last year and fully implemented in 2016.

The more I’m ‘getting it’, the more passionate I’m becoming!!


Kristy –  I am currently Master Teacher at a North QLD State School. 
I started learning about 'speech sounds' about 5 years ago after I first met Em at a presentation. When I first used SSP in my own classroom I was working in a small school on P-3 and found it helped me differentiate well for all my students needs in English. Better than anything else I'd been doing and instead of using bits of this and that, creating my own plans, following any program using great ideas I'd learnt, developed and had PD or researched about - SSP was all of that together and then more! Most of my classroom teaching experience has been on lower years and prior to SSP after years of using several programs/approaches, completing courses and paying for training which I thought I absolutely loved I discovered I truly loved SSP even more! SSP was a game changer to my teaching as it enhanced everything I did and worked super fast! Over the past few years and now I have been in leadership positions which has enabled me to support others, make change and implement effective practice - SSP. My last teaching class was 2 years ago on Prep where after a full grasp of SSP and time to perfect what I'd learnt - my student's literacy results presented amazing data and my teaching was my best.


Vanessa – I'm a prep teacher in SE QLD. Been teaching for 10ishyrs and UK trained. Used SSP for 1 & 1/2yrs. Was lucky enough to have had in-school support by Emma in the beginning. Now I fully 'get' the teaching of reading and spelling. My boy starts prep this year and he's a great little SSP reader. Proud of him and me! Loving it 


Stephanie – SSP Reception Teacher - I discovered SSP early last year and read and investigated thoroughly before deciding it was for me. I teach reception/prep/foundation classes in SA. I have taught using (another program) for about eleven years, similarly in 2015. Come July holidays I became convinced that SSP was the only way forward. My first thought was to wait and begin using it in 2016, but on reflection felt to wait would be doing a disservice to those children in my class last year. Oh boy, did my results bear this out after 2 terms of SSP!! I had my best results ever with more than a third of my class of mostly ESL/EALD students achieving reading levels above PM 20. Their sight word knowledge (reading and spelling) was also phenomenal. In 2016 I will be participating in the research project and all of our reception and year 1 classes will be implementing SSP with year 2 teachers investigating SSP. Love it!! 

Kim – Prep SSP Teacher - I have a Prep class this year and started my personal SSP journey about 3 years ago...researching and finding out what I could. After attending a class with Miss Emma I was totally hooked and need to discover it for myself in the classroom. In 2015 I started slowly and dabbled in it within my old reading groups...seeing its power, I quickly changed to full time SSP in Term 2. I have not looked back since much power given back to the children, I love their enthusiasm! I have been teaching for 25 years and this approach is totally amazing and the support from this group is quite overwhelming at times...I truly feel like we are here for the greater good of the children in our classes and we are on a mission! Can’t wait for the new group of kids to get into it!


Trish – SSP Parent - I'm a mum of a gorgeous 8 year old boy - we homeschool him due to his anxiety and schools assuming his potential due to his diagnosis and test results. He has autism, ADHD, and was assessed as having a low iq. Some in the school suggested he would never get above a year two level due to his issues. Thanks to ssp and our faith in our son’s ability and of course special thanks to Miss Emma he is now reading solo chapter books and levels 20-30 fitzroys. I have no idea where that would put him at pm level but this kid couldn't spell cat last year this time.


Sue – I'm a Special Education teacher working at a QLD state high. We have a dedicated whole school program for reading. Emma introduced SSP to us in 2014. We do small group intervention for non decoders, mostly with dyslexia.
We also have a Reading Project aligned with local primary. Volunteers invested in education come in to assist in the classroom. We in service them in dyslexia and the merits of SSP - they then get practical experience in the classroom either at primary or high school level.
The classroom becomes a very collaborative learning space with all of us facilitating and learning from each other.
Between us we are achieving great results for our kids.

Robyne – SSP Teacher - My school membership has been organised and I have just been to the new website. Can I just say...WOW!!! Emma and friends you are amazing! My life as a teacher is so much easier with you at my fingertips! Thank you!


Katrina – I am the curriculum leader at my school. We ran SSP in our 3 prep classes in 2015 as a trial and an intervention group of year 2 students. We will be using the SSP approaches in Yr 1 and Prep in 2016 with other classes adopting processes based on student need. 
The results speak for themselves. 

There are literally hundreds of parent and teacher testimonials!

Early Dyslexia Screening (present)
- An innovative new not-for-profit launched by Emma Hartnell-Baker and Dr Grace Elliott

Emma Hartnell-Baker and Dr Grace Elliott - Early Dyslexia Screening CIC - Village in the Cloud!
Village in the Cloud ! Connecting SEN Practitioners

Why trust Miss Emma with the social, emotional, and cognitive development of your child as they learn one of the most important skills in life? The way your child learns to read can affect not only how they view 'reading' but also how they see themselves. Most children who struggle do not realise that there is no 'problem' with the way they learn; it is that they are not being taught in ways that align with their needs. Emma Hartnell-Baker connects with children on a deep level and can pinpoint why any child is not yet reading and spelling with confidence. Many claim to be able to 'teach reading' — Emma Hartnell-Baker fosters a love of learning to read and of reading itself, for the sake of it."

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