Read With Me!

Read With Me!

The goal of the Read With Me! is to embrace your child’s ability to learn to read naturally during your normal picture book reading time. It immerses your child in literacy learning at a very young age by displaying easily seen words connected to you and your child’s shared book reading experience. Children have written words in their daily lives but they are not usually shown in a form that is easily seen and attended to by the child. In this application, the words are presented dynamically one at a time in large type and stay on the screen long enough for the child to attend to the words and eventually learn to read them. This experience allows your child to learn to read naturally in the same manner that they learn to understand what you say.

How It Works
You and your children have your favorite picture books. It is likely that some of these books are in our library. Choose one of your picture books to read. It is necessary to have the actual picture book to dictate the sentences to our program. When you dictate a sentence from the book, your child can now see the printed words from the book on the iPad, iPhone, or iPod during your reading time. To begin, just search the library, which can be organized by author or title, and find a book that you have and would like to read together. (Because of copyright instructions, you must have the book in order to use the program.) The book you are reading is most likely familiar to your child and it enriches their experience to see the words they know printed in text that they can see clearly and therefore learn to read.

With this application, you read to your child or children as you normally do, enjoying the rich sharing of emotion and adventure that joint book reading consistently provides. Your child is engaged in all of the rich sensory cues provided by your presence, the engaging sounds of your speech, and the attractive pictures in the book. This application adds to this experience by presenting some of the book’s written words.

When you dictate a sentence from the book, this application carries out automated speech recognition under your command. For best accuracy, you will want to read clearly and with emphasis as you usually do with your child. You activate this recognition by touching the screen before you begin reading a sentence from the book, and touch it again when you have finished reading the sentence. The words from the sentence you just read will then appear on the iPad screen. The program is optimized to recognize complete sentences from specific books that are listed in our library. If a page of your book has only a partial sentence, then the text on this page should be treated like a complete sentence. That is, you will touch the screen before and after reading the words from this incomplete sentence.

To begin, select the book you will read from the list of books in the Settings page. When you read, we suggest that you initially activate the speech recognition for only some of the sentences in the book. By monitoring the story and your child’s attention, you will know the appropriate places to show some written text to embellish the story. For the sentences that you dictate, you touch the screen before you begin reading the sentence, and touch it again when you have finished. Almost immediately after the selected sentence is read some of the words from the sentence will be presented on the screen, as specified on the Settings page. Make sure that your child has a good view of the screen and attract his or her attention to the screen if necessary.

Optimizing the Settings
The Settings page allows the reading experience to be uniquely tailored to your child. For each recorded sentence, choose the presentation rate, whether speech accompanies the words as they are presented, the male or female voice, and the number of words that will be shown (counting from the end of the sentence). The default settings are reasonable for most children, and you will quickly determine the settings that seem appropriate for your child. The printed text that the child sees has typical punctuation and is presented in an easy-to-read type font.

Initially, only a few written words should be presented. Young children “hear” only some of the words you are saying with special attention to the most recent words. So it is natural for them to “read” only the most recent words. You can therefore select the number of words that will be presented (counted from the end of the sentence). Based on your child’s engagement, you will be able to determine the optimal settings throughout the reading session and across multiple sessions. These settings are easily set and changed on the Settings page. The words will occur one at a time on the screen, and will follow their sequential order in the sentence (even though some of the earlier words in the sentence might be missing). This method of presentation has been proven to be a valid method of reading text, and it allows your child to focus on each word separately at their center of attention. The printed text that the child sees has typical punctuation and is presented in a large easy-to-read type font.

Engaging Your Child
Your child is usually engaged in your shared reading times, and it offers an ideal opportunity for giving them the opportunity to learn to read naturally. Our observations have shown that children find the written words as part and parcel of shared reading, especially if it is begun early. Our application is more interactive and somewhat more demanding than normal reading but as parents or caregivers you are starting your child’s road to literacy. The screen accompaniment is necessary because the words in picture books are usually difficult to read because of their small size and fancy fonts. In addition, children look at the pictures and not the words. We believe that learning to read in this manner instills in your child a much more positive attitude about reading and will set him or her on the pathway to reading to learn.

Read With Me! Library
You can see the books in the Read With Me! Library here.

Let Us Know
If you have questions about our app Read With Me!
email dominic.massaro at gmail.com

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