A personalized learn-to-read program: How Reading Adventure uses technology and physical books to help children learn how to read
At Osmo from BYJU’S, we set out to build a learn-to-read program that would give young readers a personalized experience to help build their confidence and love of reading. Here’s what to know about how Reading Adventure works to meet your child where they are and coach them along the way, according to our senior curriculum manager Claire Galdun. Claire leads the curriculum design for Reading Adventure. She worked as both an early childhood teacher and assistant principal for 10 years before joining Osmo from BYJU’S.
- Meeting children where they are: We are a phonics-based program that meets children where they are in terms of their reading development. The program determines a “just right fit book” for the player by listening to them read aloud. For example, Reading Adventure can determine that a child has mastered CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) words, but still needs support reading words with a digraph. Then, it recommends what level the child should begin, and with that a series of physical books from our original collection to pair with the program.
- Practice, but make it fun: When it comes to mastering skills, we certainly don’t tell children, for example, ‘oh you can’t read digraphs’ but if that skill comes up as something that needs practice in the assessment or during game play, the Reading Adventure program makes a note of that. Then the program helps practice that skill through encounters and games that work on digraphs. Next, we slowly reintroduce books with digraphs to see if a child made progress there or not. If they have, then great. And if not, then we continue to coach them while they’re reading.
- That’s where Nebula comes in: Nebula is a star and she’s “the teacher” in the program. She offers support in three different ways while children read. First, we tell children that a word they read was incorrect and ask them to read the word again. If the player still needs assistance, we break down the word into individual units of sound, reminding children of the sounds made by each different spelling pattern. For example, if children are struggling to read the word “ship”, we would remind them that the sh digraph makes the /sh/ sound, the short i makes the /i/ sound, and p makes the /p/ sound. If children are still struggling after hearing each of the sounds in the word, we read the word aloud, making a note to continue practicing those spelling patterns that were challenging during reading.
- The ability to meet children where they are and be adaptive to where they go is what makes this program special: We have voice recognition software that allows us to hear children reading down to an individual phoneme or sound level and offer feedback and support where children need it. We have a guide system that determines kids’ just right fit level of book and offers them the content that they need and can practice with. We cover a huge swath of the reading curriculum that kids will need, we offer phonics instruction and sight word instruction. There’s a comprehension component of the program, so we’re not just seeing if a child can read but also if they can understand what they are reading enough to answer questions about it later. We also focus on fluency, so is a child able to read like they’re talking? And do they understand what the book is saying? So there’s a whole lot in there. We’ve been working on this for three years but we’re pretty proud of the content that we’re able to cover.
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