Update: A YouTube video by Professor Seward describing her program
Renee Seward, who is an assistant professor of digital design at the University of Cincinnati, has been developing an web-based project to help young students make the connection between language sounds and letter forms. It's called Reading by Design: Visualizing Phonemic Sound for Dyslexic Readers 9-11 Years Old.She calls the project "a toolkit". It has an online tool, combining sight, sound and physical movement. There's also a physical toolkit, adding touch to sound, sight and physical movement.
I gather from reading the press release that this enterprise has not yet been tested.
Seward continues developing the project and is in the process of writing a grant application in cooperation with Allison Breit-Smith, UC assistant professor of teacher education, and Beth O'Brien, assistant professor of educational studies, in order to begin user testing.
So the actual rollout of the project is years in the future, and may not in fact show efficacy over other methods of remediation.
However, it looks like Professor Seward is at least on the right track.The "Reading by Design" toolkit has a number of other activities:
- Sound elements and creative visuals working in concert to reinforce reading retention and recall.
- Common sounds -- like the "ooohing" of a crowd following a great basketball play (along with the visual of a basketball player making that play) -- depict and reinforce the connections between visual vowel combinations like "oo" and "ew" and their appropriate phonemic sound.
- Horizontal lengthening of words with long vowels to denote that vowel and the silent "e" (in words like "note"). The child can experience the lengthening word with a sweep of the mouse to the right, thus integrating movement into memory.
- Also, when moving the mouse over long vowels, the cursor will not move up or down, only in a horizontal lengthening of the vowel to the right - in order to visualize the phonemic value of that vowel. Again, the rightward sweep of the mouse also incorporates the child's arm movement into memory formation and retention.
- Silent letters appropriately take on a shadow form or repel the mouse.
- A cursor that moves just like a finger following the text (common to how most children read during their early years).