What if English was an easier language to learn? What if what was so easy that a simple game, played a few minutes a day, could teach your child everything they needed to know to end Kindergarten reading like a 3rd grader? What if that worked for everyone?
We set out to answer these fundamental questions and, as a result, are extremely excited to announce the launch of TIPS Reading World to both iOS and Android. Children can play for free through Level 3, building a foundation of literacy skills such as phonics, phonemic awareness, segmentation and blending. We break down the barriers that hold so many kids back, allowing everyone to make rapid progress.
But lots of reading games claim to do that. So why make another one? Glad you asked.
A New, Better Kind of Reading App
Let's go back to where we started this post, a simple question: "What if English was an easier language to learn?" It may come as a surprise to you to learn that not only is English pretty difficult to learn, but it is, by far, the most difficult language with an alphabet to read.
The mental load required to read in English is enormous compared to virtually every other language. There are hundreds of rules of spelling, all with numerous, important exceptions. All of this comes together, making learning English significantly slower. The science behind this is relatively new and has had zero impact on our age-old, brute-force methods of teaching our kids to read: namely painful quantities of rote memorization and a battery of decoding rules that fail on the most basic words in our language.
Enter TIPS™ Reading World. Reading World is a beautiful adventure for kids to explore, with lovable characters, rich worlds, and lots of fun to be had. But at the core, it represents a revolution. We are taking a fundamentally different approach to building literacy, built on strong foundations like the study of how kids learn to read Hebrew. We reinvented reading to develop a system that allows children to simply sound out every single word they read, without changing the underlying spelling.
A Unique App to Build Literacy for Young Kids
Teaching a Better Set of Phonics
The first step in the reading journey starts with letters and their sounds. Normally, this means learning the "A" in CAT and calling it a day. But what about the "A" in AIR? or SMALL? or TUNA? or FAR? What about the "O" in SOME? By teaching these sounds explicitly, and using TIPS so kids know the right sounds to make, we build these strong reading foundations that will serve us later on.
Enforcing the Key Decoding Skill
Blending is always an important reading skill, but in traditional methods it takes a slightly lower priority. This makes sense, because there are so many sight words (aka irregular words, where the spelling and the sound doesn't line up) needed to read at speed in English. The question is, how do you learn those words? There are thousands and thousands of them. With TIPS and the basic blending skills we teach in the game, your child will have everything they need to decode tens of thousands of words.
Reading on Sight
So, instead of rote memorization of hundreds of "sight" words, reading with TIPS in Reading World is just a natural process where children memorize words because they decode them repeatedly while reading them. This is the same process that happens in simple languages like Spanish or Dutch, where kids typically learn to read in less than half the time we do in the US.
What Makes Reading World Special?
- Reading World is the only game to use TIPS™, which have the potential to dramatically improve learning speed (we're studying this now, so we can say by just how much).
- Reading World has over 20 different learning games, focused on the micro-milestones of early literacy development.
- Reading World is an adventure, where your child can travel across five islands and meet lovable characters who make learning fun and easy.
We Need New Tools to Fix the Literacy Crisis in America
English is one of the most difficult languages to understand, and one cause of the ongoing literacy crisis in the United States. Most studies put the effort required to learn English at 2 or 2.5x as high as a simpler language like Italian or Spanish. Comparisons between English writing and that of other languages show, with perfect consistency, that the system of spelling and letter-sounds used in English is uniquely challenging. This underlying difficulty lies at the center of the literacy crisis in the country: over 65% of children could not read at grade level proficiency before the COVID-19 school shutdowns.
In 2019, the National Assessment of Educational Progress's (NAEP) biannual report card for U.S. schools showed the steepest decline of literacy scores in 20 years. Only half of high-income and just one in five low-income students read proficiently at grade level in the fourth-grade.
TIPS Reading World, the first reading app for kids designed specifically to address the challenge of English complexity at its root, aims to solve this problem. By teaching kids to read with TIPS, Reading World lays a new kind of foundation and looks to revolutionize reading instruction in the US. set of training wheels, allowing every single word to be decoded.
Abigail Brennan, reading specialist and educational consultant on literacy programs to schools across the U.S., recognizes the value.
We are truly facing a literacy crisis and so many of our youngest kids simply can’t read. With COVID shutdowns, the situation is becoming truly dire. It’s time for innovative ideas. When I see what TinyIvy is offering, and their early results, I have tremendous hope for this company and for our country’s future.
TIPS Reading World takes full advantage of the personalized learning potential of the digital age, but by focusing on the core challenge of reading in English, there is tremendous potential for accelerated learning as students learn to work with the system.