Why is this App called Stamping?  Because in the classroom version of the Baratta-Lorton Reading Program that has been in use since 1985, students use rubber stamps to stamp out the sounds for the words they wish to write.  The “stamps” may look different in App form, but their use is just the same.

The stamps for the 44 sounds offer children a unique opportunity to begin creative writing as soon as they have learned all 44 sounds.  Writing with the stamps permits children see reading and writing as interchangeable processes.  A child who sees and can say "ear" is a beginning reader.  A child who hears "ear" said, and can stamp outis a beginning writer.  A child who can think "ear'' and translate this mind's thought into has mastered the basic understanding necessary to read and to write.

The logical progression of learning, presented in the Flipbooks, Booklets, Worksheets, and Picture Packets is, of course, important in insuring every child learns to read and read well.  But the logical progression cannot capture for the child the excitement that comes from being able to put his or her own words on paper, or the feeling of power that writing affords when what one has written can actually be read by someone else - even if initially that someone else may only be parents and siblings.

The child is ready to begin stamping or “writing” any words he or she wishes as soon as he or she has learned all 44 sounds.  “Ready to begin” does not mean ready to master.  For a child to stamp out a word correctly, he or she must hear all the sounds within that word.  This is not always easy, but it is always possible.  All it takes is time, practice, and a parent with whom to share the experience.

The child’s first efforts may not be readable by anybody but the child doing the writing.  The words may be missing sounds, or include extra sounds, or the wrong sounds, or have the sounds in the wrong order.  None of this is important.  What is important is that the child is free to write anything he or she wishes, how ever well or poorly the child may perform this writing at the start.

To enhance the writing experience, whatever is stamped can also be saved and printed out.  The child can then illustrate the words either on the printed page or on a separate sheet of paper.  Or, if the child prefers, a picture may be drawn first and the accompanying words stamped out once the drawing is completed.

The Sequence
The purpose of Stamping is to allow children the freedom to write words and phrases of their own creation.  This purpose is achieved only with some necessary training along the way.

Once the child has been introduced to the triangle level of the Booklets and Reading Worksheets, he or she is introduced to Stamping.  For this introduction, a parent or an older sibling dictates triangle-level two and three-sound words, one word at a time, to the child as the child stamps out each word said.  This gives the child necessary practice in hearing words and writing the words heard.  The word list to be used for dictation is downloadable from this link:

Click here to download the Stamping Word List

As the child is ready for circle level activities, circle level words are read to the child for stamping.  Square level words are read in their turn, followed by rectangle level, then star.

Once all 44 sounds are known, the child is ready to begin writing anything he or she wishes.  Each time the child writes something to share, the parent reads with the child what the child has stamped out. It is during this parent-child joint reading process that the parent begins the gentle process of helping the child hear more correctly the sounds that make up words.

The child stamps what the child hears.  What the child stamps allows the parent to refine the hearing.  It is biscuit not visket, dress not jress, birthday not birday, and so on.

The Stamping App details below describe how easy it is for the parent to edit the child's writing with the child. Sound images can be deleted and/or inserted effortlessly.

The challenge for the parent is not the adding or removing of the sounds. It is learning with the child the sounds to be heard in each word. As the child is learning to listen for the sounds in words, the parent is learning to listen, as well.

Parents have a distinct advantage over their children in listening for the sounds in words. Parents already know how most words are spelled. The spellings for words come from their sounds. As an example, if a child stamps out instead of for "dress" the parent knows dress begins with thesound and not thesound. Parents bring with them an understanding of the sounds that make up words that their children do not yet possess.

Stamping App Details
The Stamping App's top left-hand row of sounds contains the triangle level's first 8 sounds.  So, when the child is stamping out the triangle level two and three-sound words, all the sounds needed are in the very first row.

Scroll one row down on the left-hand side to see the next 8 sounds, which together with the first row, comprise the circle level’s 16 sounds.  The sounds for the circle level two and three-sound words are contained in these two rows.  The 24 sounds for the square level's two and three-sound words add the third row on the left-hand side.  The 32 sounds for the rectangle level add the top row on the right-hand side.  All 44 sounds of the star level add the second and third rows on the right-hand side.

The sound images are presented in the same order they are introduced in Dekodiphukan.  They are also in the same order as on the Decoding Chart - the first eight sounds in the scroll bar are the first eight sounds on the Chart, the second eight in the scroll bar, the second eight on the Chart, and so on.  However, the Chart will not have been introduced at the point when the child first begins using the Stamping App.  A parent who wishes a quick guide to the location of the sounds in the two scroll bars may download a Sound Review Chart and keep it handy for reference.

The third right-hand row that contains the final 4 sounds also includes three additional symbols – a period, a question mark, and a silent letter stamp.  The period and the question mark are introduced to the child once story writing begins.  The silent-letter stamp is for the parent's use, not the child's.

As the child writes for others to read, he or she will eventually learn that the reader, as opposed to the writer, needs to know when one thought ends and the next one begins.  It is also useful for the reader to know if a question is being asked.  Periods and question marks provide these clues.

The silent-letter stamp is not used by the child.  It is there for use by the parent if he or she elects to use Stamping later on, either to edit the child’s stories for easy translating to traditional letters, or to write new stories for the child to translate into traditional letters.  Its use is described in the Writing Worksheets instructions.

The Specifics

To place a sound on the writing surface, tap twice on its image (for the period and the question mark, one tap is enough).  Press the "space" button to add a space between sounds or words.  Press the "erase one" button, to erase the space or sound image to the left of the cursor.  To move the cursor, tap on the sound-image or space to the left of where you wish the cursor to appear.  If you want the cursor to the left of the very first image on the screen, tap to the left of it and the cursor will move to the start.  To clear the screen, press the "erase all" button.

Saving Stories
Pressing the "save story" button brings up a page asking for your story’s name.  Tapping anywhere in the white box brings up the keyboard.  A child can enter anything in the box as a title, including numbers.  Clicking on OK saves the story.  Another OK is to be clicked when the “your story is saved” alert button appears.  The story saved is now in the “your stories” list in the main menu.

The white box comes with a spell checker.  The child can ignore its suggestions or press the space bar to accept the suggested word.

To edit a story already written, open it in the “your stories” list:

Press the “edit stories” button.
Move the cursor to the point or points where changes are to be made.
Use the “erase one” button to erase sound images.
When finished, press the “done” button.
Press OK when the “your story is saved again” alert button appears.

Parents may use the editing feature to add in silent letter sounds when the child reaches the transition level of the program.

Printing Stories
Saving stories does not automatically save them for printing or sharing with others.

To save a story for printing or sharing:
Open the story in the “your stories” list.
A “save for sharing” button appears in the top menu bar.
Press this button to save the story as a photo image in the iPad Photos App.
Press OK on the “story saved in Photos” alert button.

Stories saved to Photos are shareable and printable in the same manner as any photo album images are shareable and printable.

Story pages will print without any size adjustment on 14 inch legal size paper in landscape mode.  To print on 11 inch letter-size paper in landscape mode, reduce the image by whatever reduction percentage your printer may require.

The Menu
Press the “show menu” button to see the menu.
When the menu is displayed, the right-hand scroll bar is no longer visible on the screen.
Press the “right side” button to display the right-side scroll bar.
Press the “left side” button to display the left-side scroll bar once again.
Choose “write a story” for stamping anything new.
Choose “your stories” for a list of stories saved.
Press the “delete” button to delete stories from the list.
Choose “change stamp size” to adjust the size of the sound images.

Creative Writing
Once a child has learned all 44 sounds and can stamp out the words learned, creative writing's first phase comes next.