new free literacy program in development

Since surveys keep getting posted, here is a place to put them.

Moderators: Theodore, elliemaejune

Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Apr 04, 2010 12:48 pm
Location: marion ohio

new free literacy program in development

Postby ohiovr » Sun Apr 04, 2010 12:53 pm

Hello forum,

My name is Scott Yannitell. For the last year or so I've been working and thinking about how to teach adult illiterates how to read. I've settled on the synthetic phonics method as that was the method used to advance my own reading skills. I believe that if you can sound out the 44 letter sounds you have 98% of the knowledge needed to be able to read anything.

My goal is that a user of my software can start with little to no literacy skill and by the time he or she finishes the program can read at a traditional first grade level. My program is essentially an interactive McGuffey Primer (revised edition) text book. The program highlights text as it reads it to the students. Each word is broken down into their individual letter sounds so the student can hear how words are composed. The top portion of the page consists of new words introduced into the bottom text and the new letter sounds. The student reviews the text one line at a time. After each line the student is to repeat the text to themselves. Then the student clicks on a button to advance to the next line. At the bottom of the page the student is told to re read the page again. At any time when the narration is not playing the student can listen to how a word is composed by moving their mouse cursor over the word. If there are any new phonics rules they will be introduced into lesson at the top of the page. The speed in which the computer reads text can be set with a widget at the right side of the screen.

Other features:

After a few lessons an alphabet is introduced at the top of the page. If you move your mouse over a letter, the name of the letter will be announced. If you click on a letter a short presentation about the sounds that letter can represent will start.

There is a module for nonsense word phonetic practice which drills the new letter sounds from the current lesson. This can be accessed from a button labeled s.s.s.s practice at the bottom of the page. It will become unghosted when the narration is not playing.

After every 5 lessons there is an activity lesson which reviews or reinforces concepts presented so far.

I've developed this program with adults in mind but I don't see why it couldn't be used for a much younger audience. It just lacks the bright colors and child like materials that other courses have. This work is based on a text book that has helped tens of millions the skill of reading, mostly children.

I am still at an early stage of development with this thing with a little less than 80% of the lesson material still unfinished. I would be grateful if I could get some feedback to see if this approach will be generally useful. I hate to think a couple of years of work will be for nothing if helps no one.

The program covers the:
short a, hard c, d, n, r, t, h, th, s, f, l, m, p, soft s, short o, b, hard g, long e, short I, ch, short-e, x, sh
letter sounds

so far

you can see my program here:
see my interactive phonics text book at

Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Apr 11, 2010 7:40 am
Location: Bloomington Illinois

Postby MBRP » Sun Apr 11, 2010 8:30 am


I did a quick review of your website and will post the following comments and request that we discuss collaboration.

First, it is great that you are working to providing a free website. Over the past 10 years, I have been developing free materials, first in Excel for local use and then converting the information to a website for greater use and distribution.

As noted in my profile, I am president of a nonprofit group, Discovery Learning Program at

My FREE reading website is

Comments and Thoughts:

1. From my perspective, there is to much talking for each page. Particularly for adults, they have probably heard this many times. If you move forward, I suggest you develop an instructional section covering each key idea for self pacing instruction or working with a mentor. Then keep the printed lessons more targeted and specific in the interactions.

I also need to build this type of information for my site - an area of possible collaboration?

2. It is good to show the synthetic approach when clicking on each word, but I believe you need to have an option to turn it off and also just present the word by itself. The idea here is to demonstrate the sound units, but eventually, the student needs to read the text with fluency. That is, the goal is to have the student read each word in less than 2 seconds. Through the synthetic phonics training, the skills are developed to attack unknown words. You need to provide the opportunity for the student to practice the same material for fluency.

3. I really like the response time of your site. I had originally built in actual recording similar to yours, but the response time was very slow. At first, I thought you were using Flash, but I don't see any "Loading" messages. I'd be interested in how you are programming this. To resolve the response time, I am relying more on Text to Speech tools.

As you review my site, you will see I have a Build Your Own section. The Text to Speech tools allows the student/mentor to create materials of their own interest.

4. I'm not really big on nonsense words. Here is my rationale. If a student cannot decode a word within 3 seconds, it is in fact a nonsense word from a skill perspective. In addition, if the word is not in their speaking vocabulary, then it REALLY is a nonsense word. As part of my program, I have built in the ability to build the vocabulary by using animated pictures, sentences in context and morphology (run, ran, running, runner). I'm still building this out, so again, some possible collaboration. In order to build fluency, the student must also be able to tie meaning to the words, so that "it sticks" after several exposures to the word.

Collaboration: Yes, I agree that you could spend a lot of time, especially if you only have 20% completed and your goal is only 1st grade reading level. Let's talk offline about how we could collaborate. You appear to have strong technical skills and a burning passion to help others read.

I was a struggling reader. I was also a Special Education teacher working with high school mentally handicapped and elementary students with learning disabilities in the 1970's. I left teaching and worked in the Systems Department at a Fortune 30 company for 27 years. I retired a little over two years ago to focus on the website development.

Again, I commend your interest and effort. Let me know offline if you would like to discuss. I can also set up a DimDim collaborative session so we can share computer screens as we talk.

My email address is:
Dlck Briggs
President, Discovery Learning Program
Creator, My Breakfast Reading Program

Return to “Homeschool Surveys”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests