A self help aid for learning to read and spell
A half-hour cartoon DIY literacy video
with animated graphics
to teach yourself to read or find out where you got stuck,
with an overview of the English writing system
and what it helps to know to learn to read and spell
unique overview of the English writing system and how to cope with
it, starting from scratch, is online free to copy from www.ozreadandspell.com.au and also as earlier DVD
versions 10, DVD Demo of Part 3, and video VHS
Contact Valerie Yule,
and any relevant details about the age, first language etc. of the
learners who will use them. Ask your local library or school to
send for a free set, that can be copied for
to use the
program for fast learning
- The Dream
rationale, and FAQ
- Part 1. How to hear sounds
- Part 2. Letters and sounds
- Part 3. Letters in words
- Part 4. Spelling and how to cope with it
- Part 5. Reading whatever you want to read
These materials are
freely available to use and copy, (Copyright remains with
In return please send feedback and ideas, copies of learners'
completed checklists and p&p (A$10). Super versions are still to be made, and you can help.
See further pages on Literacy, including
index page on literacy.
See details below and also see:
In the future,
EVERYONE who starts to learn to read in English, or who faces
confusions, will as a matter of course, be able to watch and watch
again, in their own time, preferably at home, a 30-minute literacy
video/CD or DVD like this, tailored for their particular needs,
from pre-school to adults learning English language.
- It will be useful for
diagnosis, research and an aid to courses and teaching.
It will not be suitable for group viewing, where social factors
always affect concentration and responses.
- The video or CD or
DVD will be FREE. Copies can be down loaded from the Internet,
bought and borrowed, and copied again freely - except for
commercial profit. Official distributors such as the ABC or
British Council will profit from their
- Art. Literacy
videos/CDs, DVDs will be of such high quality that they win awards at
Plus Literacy for Home-Learning comic book series of 22 lessons, with picture checklist
, black-and-white checklist, and
linked pages on Literacy such as the
index page on literacy.
All can be downloaded and
It has only recently become possible to
'teach yourself to read' at
because learners could not read the books to teach them.
Video and DVD change this.
Animated graphics can demonstrate any skill, because speech can go
with the pictures and script, and the animation that can explicate
and simplify complex concepts is visually fascinating.
Videos that teach foreign languages and writing systems show the
potential to also teach how to read in English. But instead what
has been happening is that modern multi-media for literacy is
getting to be a vastly expensive time-consuming business, and
still do not give learners the overview they really need to
understand what they are supposed to be doing.
See article in UNESCO's International Review of Education,
This is an Australian experimetnal video which is, to my knowledge,
the first to take up the opportunity for radical innovation in
methods and content of literacy teaching that is offered by
audiovisual media. It demonstrates 'how to read' from the very
beginning, by a half-hour overview to be watched and rewatched until
each point becomes familiar. Each point can be directly applied to
actually reading in two booklet manuals and to reading of their own
choice rather than diversions into miscellaneous directed
'activities'. It is not like TV literacy dramas, where the message
must get home on a single viewing.
The video was made because I found that many baffled learners
referred to me professionally were not 'dyslexic' but were simply
blocked by some simple gap or confusion that had never been
recognised, such as 'Are there only 26
letters? I thought there were thousands! '
The basic cause of reading
difficulty is confusion.' (Vernon 1957).
These gaps and confusions can now be cleared up by watching the
The experimental video starts from scratch,
since so many adults have become lost to literacy even in their
first year at school. It demonstrates aspects of how to read
that good readers and spellers discover by intuition, if not by
direct teaching, and it clarifies how to use knowledge of the
spoken language to decode and obtain meaning from the
alphabetic written language. Their first watching gives an
overall view. Then learners can go back and watch the detail
more carefully, and skip sections that they already know or now
Video-graphics are superb at visual 'maps' which are economical
summaries of processes and knowledge. They can chunk and link
information (Miller 1956), using 'one way to
teach a thousand things'. A great deal of information is
presented in a very condensed form.
Part 1. HOW TO HEAR SOUNDS IN WORDS
by singing slowly. For Age 3 upward, and everyone
with dyslexic problems or complete non-readers,
regardless of age.
Part 2. LETTERS AND SOUNDS -
The ABC song, letters that morph into pictures and
back to letters, upper and lower case, digraphs,
different fonts and letter shapes For Age 3 upwards
and everyone with dyslexic problems or complete
non-readers, regardless of age. Even adults aged 45 in
literacy classes may discover they did not know the full
Part 3. LETTERS IN WORDS
How to read unfamiliar words, onsets and rimes in
words, consonants and the 19+ vowel sounds, blending
sounds, building up words, some common spelling
patterns. For age 4 upwards, and everyone with
dyslexic problems or needing basic help with reading and
spelling skills, regardless of age. The song contains
the easiest sounds to hear, teaches observation of the
structure of words, and its repetition helps beginners
develop fluency in reading for meaning,
Part 4. SPELLING AND HOW TO COPE WITH IT
The 100 most common words in a sing-song containing
nearly half the words in everyday text. Why English
spelling has problems and how to cope with it, where
spellings come from, how to read long words by taking
them to bits, common and less common spelling
patterns. For age 5 upwards, and everyone with
dyslexic problems or needing help with spelling or
reading, regardless of age. Clues show how to tackle
learning spelling efficiently.
Part 5. READING WHATEVER YOU WANT TO
How to put strategies and clues together to read for
meaning. For age 6 upwards, and everyone needing help
with reading accurately, regardless of age. Shows how
beginning readers develop fast reading skills by first
practising accuracy and self-correction, until skills
THE DEMO shows Part 3, LETTERS IN
Features of letters, words, sentences and text,
based on a story and songs with familiar tunes, with
cartoon graphics and animated text that make the print
intrinsically interesting. It shows:
- How to learn
to read by reading, with songs and story
right from the start.
- How to hear
sounds in words.
speech sounds. Each letter is made memorable
through morphing into an animated picture with the
same shape and initial speech sound, then reverting
- a presentation which also helps to prevent letter
reversals - and the alphabet is linked in sequence
with song and chart.
- How there can be different visual
forms of the same
letters, as represented in
- Meaningful text is used to demonstrate the
clues of initial
letters, when two
letters represent one sound, the
vowel sounds, and some of the ways to spell the
vowel sounds and
the remaining ar-er-air-aw
sets, how sounds can be blended,
and how letters can be substituted to
make new words, with
analogies in 'spelling families'.
words and sentence structures are built up, and
where and how to begin
reading a word.
- Word-plays show how to
use analogies and rimes in
word recognition, and highlight the importance of
- The basic underlying
vowel spelling system and
consonant-vowel combinations are shown
graphically, with clues on how
to cope with the unpredictable deviations from
the English spelling system. Many failing learners
consider they must be stupid because they cannot
the sense in many spellings; to be told that
English spelling itself is sometimes 'silly' and
why, and how to cope with this, boosts their own
self-confidence. Some teachers have condemned the
video for giving away this information about
English spelling, as being demoralising. But
students have a democratic right to know.
of English spellings from
Old English, French,
Latin and Greek
help learners to recognise spelling patterns
outside the system.
- Segmentating long
reading and comprehending new vocabulary.
in a simple
to find that if
they can read
one hundred common
words, they can read
almost half of most
texts. When they
this claim out on
of print by
with a felt pen, they
see that the task left
to learn appears small
Setting the most
common words in a
single story chunks
information, and the
makes them all easier
than if set out
in lists. Chunking the
most common words
together in one story
is also strategic
because a high
proportion of the
you meet most
often are among the most
- Students can complete a
with or without help, to check both what they found
out from the video, and what they find they knew
already. The overview of their own knowledge also
- So the video is a diagnostic and remedial self-help tool that
could be accessible to anyone, borrowed or purchased from local
video-libraries, public libraries, shops, work-places, schools and
courses. Versions could be made for children, teenagers, adults,
second-language learners, backward and handicapped learners,
bright learners and for a big export market.
- Computer animated graphics can appeal to all ages. They can be
designed for an adult level of understanding, but nine-year-old
children can still grasp basic teaching points, and younger
children can preview what lies ahead as they enjoy the intrinsic
entertainment of animated cartoon.
- The video boosts learners' self-esteem because it 'gives power
to the people', allowing independent
learning while still leaving a major role of inspiring,
supervising and extending students for
teachers, who can also find it a
valuable complementary aid Teachers will have a far more
interesting working day when their students can read and write
- The value of the video concept
is shown in the enthusiastic responses of many students,who
recommended even the amateur pilot version to each other, often
to the surprise of sceptical tutors. Older students liked to
use it as intended, informally and individually at home, to use
independently, as they like.
It is unsuitable for initial class viewing, except for some
young children who will often join spontaneously in the songs
and word-play. Older people find that in a formal group it is
socially difficult to attend to the content of a video rather
than to judge it as entertainment.
to Use ABC GO!
- WATCH as you like, when you like. START
where you like, using the buttons.
- JOIN IN with the sounds, words and
- GET A BOOK or PLASTIC LETTERS to practise
- DO THE CHECKLIST
- WATCH AGAIN and again parts that are not
clear, until they are clear.
Joining in with the sounds, words and singing is the best way
to be involved and to learn fast.
- Beginners can have colored plastic letters and an ABC chart
too. Watch individually, at home, in free play, in hospital or a
free corner at a course or school. NOT suitable for groups, or
even watching with a teacher the first time. 2. Joining in with
the sounds, words and singing involves learners and they learn
fast. Just sitting back and watching just for entertainment is
less useful and can even become boring.
- Re-watch parts still not clear to make it familiar, clear
and connected. Stop at any point you like. Ask teachers or tutors
about points needing more help. On first viewing it may seem too
- THE CHECK-LIST helps beforehand by showing the structure of
the program for those who can already read. Iit is important to
fill it in afterwards to make clear to yourself what you know
already and what you found out. Keep the checklist to help you
remember what you saw.
HOW THIS IS DIFFERENT
Cartoon graphics, animated text and songs, starting from
scratch are 'advance-organizers' for learners, to prevent
confusion, and to clear up gaps and confusions for those who have
problems. Its content is based on all the gaps and confusions of
learners who have been referred to me for diagnoses of possible
dyslexia. The emphases throughout are on Understanding and How To.
Eventually different versions can meet different needs and
PLANNED. A comic book of content, and reading songs and legends
of all nations.
Almost all students completing checklists so far have all
learnt something from the video, sometimes at a surprisingly basic
level, like how to blend sounds, or the ABC in order.
- Evaluation since 1993 shows how the cheaply-made
experimental video can be improved and remade
professionally. Millions of dollars are
being thrown at literacy - but why
has nobody who is throwing this sort of money around not yet
been able to afford $30,000 to remake it, for a re-usable
literacy aid, affordable for all?
The Reality Achieved so Far
- The present
EXPERIMENTAL VERSIONS still do not achieve the dream.
- You can also see that it is
a 'Chinese' idea of art, that must never be quite perfect. Indeed,
viewers can see how many slips they can find. But beyond the
image, the content it is very useful.
- Testing, reviews and
improvements are needed. I would offer to be an honorary
consultant when other versions are made, including versions made
by schools, with almost everyone in the school involved, including
failing learners musicians, computer whizzes and artists.
- DVD Experimental Version 10
and DVD Demo of Part 3 (Letters and Words)
- VHS Experimental Version
This production can be
copied freely for use in learning, teaching, research, experiment
and review, with acknowledgment to the author at all times.
Feedback, findings and evaluations are requested.
Copyright. No commercial use
in whole, in part or in adaptation, in any format, or in any
medium, without written permission from the author. © :
Valerie Yule 2003
for group viewing
- Overview of the
English writing system,
- Starts from scratch,
- With advance organizers,
- Self-help for independent learning,
- Cognitive understanding is the key,
- Chunking information,
- No activities except reading,
- Intrinsic entertainment with no diversions,
- Lots of surprises,
- and Learning to read by reading.
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