Marilyn Adams
Richard Allington
Miriam Balmuth
Clarence Barnhart
Frederic Bartlett
Wiley Blevins
Leonard Bloomfield
Samuel Blumenfeld
David Boulton
Michael Brunner
Lucy Calkins
Sister Mary Caroline
James McKeen Cattell
Jeanne Chall
Marie Clay
Max Coltheart
Nellie Dale
Stanislas Dehaene
John Dewey
Glenn Doman
Linnea Ehri
Denise Eide
Rudolf Flesch
Monica Foltzer
Irene Fountas
Thomas Gallaudet
Arthur Gates
Friedrich Gedike
Anna Gillingham
Kenneth Goodman
Philip Gough
William Gray
Patrick Groff
Emily Hanford
John Hart
Julie Hay
Arthur Heilman
Debbie Hepplewhite
Malia Hollowell
Bill Honig
Edmund Burke Huey
Felicity Hughes
John Joseph Jacotot
John Keagy
Frank Laubach
Edwin Leigh
Alvin Liberman
Helen Loring
G. Reid Lyon
Horace Mann
Mary Peabody Mann
Mitford Mathews
Margaret McEathron
Diane McGuinness
George Miller
Louisa Moats
Samuel Orton
Elizabeth Peabody
P. David Pearson
Gay Su Pinnell
Donald Potter
David Rumelhart
Mark Seidenberg
Sally Shaywitz
Frank Smith
Nila Banton Smith
Keith Stanovitch
Robert Sweet
Denny Taylor
Richard Venezky
Noah Webster
Daniel Willingham
Charles Wingo
Maryanne Wolf
Reading With Phonics Apps
Reading With Phonics Apps
We are developing a number of apps for computers and laptops, smartphones and tablets, which will be freely available for parents, siblings, tutors, and teachers who are teaching children (or older English language learners) to read.

The apps are designed to support the rapid development of phonemic awareness in learning readers

We have identified a small number of "key" words that contain (so will let children experience) the 44 sounds (phonemes) of English and the 75 letter combinations (phonograms) that are alternative spellings for those sounds.

A printed book could contain all those words, but although books are wonderful, they are mute. They depend on a competent reader to pronounce all the alternative sounds for a learning reader while their eyes follow the letters representing those sounds.

Our reading with phonics apps are designed to dialog, using speech and print, with a child (or older English learning reader) to interact with those 75 print symbols and the 44 speech sounds used in 98% of English texts, as well as the 100 or so “sight” or high frequency words (with irregular spellings) that account for nearly half of the words found in everyday reading matter and speech.

We believe that in as few as three weeks of listening and talking to these apps, especially with the help of a caring parent, sibling, tutor, or teacher, the neural connections between the visual and auditory parts of the learner’s brain will be wired together permanently, providing him or her with a lifetime of automatic fluent pronunciation of English.

In the so-called “simple view of reading,” this pronunciation (turning print symbols into speech sounds) is called “word recognition,” the first part of the "SVR," also known as “decoding,” converting each letter or combination of letters into a sound (phoneme).

But what about “meanings?” Many critics of direct instruction in phonics say learning to read should always be meaningful, never just rote "drill and skill" training with meaningless letters and nonsense words. Reading with phonics apps talk to a child with the hundreds of words in a two-year old’s oral vocabulary (up to the five thousand words in a five-year old's vocabulary). The apps use words whose meanings children already know!

We find children are delighted to see in print and "sound out" familiar words that they use every day, words they already understand. In the the simple view of reading, this is called “language comprehension” in which sounds of known words are instantly understood.

In the SVR, the product of word recognition (WR) and language comprehension (LC) is called “reading comprehension” (RC) in the simple view of reading. It is of course simply knowing how to read.

Reading with phonics apps show children words in print being converted to speech sounds whose meanings they already know. The apps are designed to dialog with learning readers using their already known oral vocabulary.

Reading with Phonics apps listen to words spoken by the child, showing correct and incorrect words as print to the child. As needed, the apps will ask the child to try again, guiding him or her to improve speech sounds and to converge to standard English pronunciation.

Digital sounds adapted from our Merlin electronic game will signal the correct/incorrect letters when the learning reader is spelling (typing or speaking), reinforcing best behaviors, and making learning more a playful game than a dry lesson.

(We don’t believe that practicing the sounds of letters with ba, be, bi, bo, bu, are boring for a very young child, though they may seem so in a crowded classroom. This is why we want to teach kids to read before they go to school!)

We’ll add buttons to our user interface to support what we will call “standard children dialogues” modeled after the “standard English dialogues” of our iXO telecomputing system, which was cited on the cover of BYTE magazine for “human factors engineering” Buttons supporting dialogue will include Yes, No, Don’t Know, Go Back/Repeat, and Help.

The Reading with Phonics apps are incredibly lightweight compared to the new AI-empowered programs like Amira Learning, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Into Reading. And of course our apps will be free and will work on the smartphones, tablets and computers likely to be found in most American homes today.

We will make these apps freely downloadable from the Apple App Store, the Google Play Store, and the Amazon App Store. And we hope it will be a new tool in the toolbox of the thousands of practitioners teaching Marie Clay’s Reading Recovery to readers struggling in elementary schools around the world.

Technical Progress

We now have several working apps, each showing progress with the essential elements needed to support full human-computer dialogues - speech and writing recognition and text-to-speech.

They all are working well on MacOS 12, including desktops and MacBooks, but most of them are having problems on iOS (iPhones and iPads). Sadly they all fail on the latest MacOS (Sonoma 14)

Most of the apps now have problems on Windows desktops and laptops and Android tablets and smartphones.

We may need to convert the javascript code running in web browsers to native XCode for Apple products (I am still an authorized Apple developer) I am studying Amazon’s AWS Amplify as a development platform for both Apple and Windows/Android applications. .

We need a spreadsheet of operating systems and browsers with known problems for each, including tests on some older models of smartphones that are likely to be available in lower-income households.

Older smartphones and tablets with touch-screen interfaces are the least expensive platforms for our reading with phonics apps, but we find that young children quickly become adept at the keyboards, mice, and windows of today’s home and office computers.

In a classroom or otherwise noisy setting, learning readers will need to use headphones with a noise-reducing boom microphone. We are testing several headsets.

Open-source technologies for speech recognition, handwriting recognition, text-to-speech, and audio file recording and playback are appearing on all these platforms. We hope to adapt our reading apps to work with all of them.

History of Phonics

Simple Alphabet Sounds

44 Phonemes

Single-Letter Phonograms

Multi-Letter Phonograms

"As In" Key Words

Phonetic Alphabets

Pronunciation Dictionaries

Phonics Rules

Phonemic Awareness

Reading Apps

Reading Readiness

Reading Recovery

Science of Reading

Simple View of Reading

Speech Recognition

Speech Synthesis

Spelling Reform?

Sight Words

Word Method

Whole Language

Balanced Literacy

Reading Wars

Our Teaching Method




Blend Phonics

Children of the Code

Phonics Institute (RRF)

Phonics International

The Phonics Page

Phonovisual Products

Rebalancing Literacy

Reading Rockets

Synthetic Phonics


Amira Learning

HMH Into Reading

CMU RoboTutor

Source: Denise Eide, Understanding the Logic of English.