FAQ

Remote Learning

Can Readable English be taught completely  online?

Yes. The Readable English online platform allows teachers to teach in-person or online. Since all lessons work in either setting, teachers do not miss a session of reading if students are at home. Because of this flexibility the scenarios can vary by need. Teachers can use the online platform to teach large groups, small groups or one-to-one.

What are the considerations for teaching online? 

We have found that classes limited to 6 or less students are optimal for student progress. The online lessons provided for teachers have been designed to be interactive so that student engagement is high. Teachers who have been teaching online are reporting that their students are making as much progress as in-person classes. 

How does the online teaching work? 

Once registered, teachers and students have access to the Readable English website. The online sessions are run via a video-conferencing service (like ZOOM) and the teacher “screen-shares” to lead students through the lesson. Students can then complete their student activities and homework through the website.

How easy is it to teach the program online?

The Readable English teaching materials support teachers with easy to use pre-made lesson presentations that need no prep time. With the share screen function, and interactive games and videos, the presentation slides keep the program highly engaging and effective.

Implementation

Which students would benefit from the program?

The program is ideal for struggling readers, Special Education students and ELL students.

For what grade levels is the program suitable? 

The program is ideal for grades 2-8. Any grade level will benefit as long as the students know their Standard English and digraph sounds. Once students are reading using the Readable English mark up, the conversion tool gives them continued support with their grade level content as needed.

How do schools implement the program? 

Implementation can be individualized by school need. Once teachers are trained, the program can be implemented with an entire class, in small groups and one-to-one. If needed, an after school model, can be used. The program is also suitable for both online and in-person instruction. 

How long does it take for teachers to get trained? 

There are 3 phases of Readable English. Training for Phase 1 can be completed in 6 hours. Phase 2 & 3 takes approximately 4 hours. 

How can I register to start using Readable English?  

If you are a school or organization that has many students and teachers/tutors, we will set you up as a school. You will be provided with a school administration account where you can create teacher and student accounts, access reports etc. Please contact us so that we can get you started!

If you are a tutor/clinician and only looking to use Readable English with one student, you can sign up directly on the website as a parent / tutor on behalf of the family. However, we generally recommend that tutors/clinicians get in contact with us so we can negotiate a rate for using it with more than one student and provide you with an administration account.

What results can we expect and how soon can we expect to see them?

Typically, results can be seen early in the program, while students are learning the basics of the program. In Phase 1, students develop phonemic awareness and decoding skills and it is common for students to exhibit more confidence in reading as their skills improve.  But it is in Phase 2 and 3 when they’ve had more practice and their word volume increases that you can expect major gains in both accuracy and comprehension. On average, students learning Readable English improve at twice the rate of students in control groups, for both reading accuracy and comprehension.

How often is the program taught? How many times a week / how long?


A Weekly Teaching Schedule is provided for teachers. Ideally, classes should be taught 5 days a week for 30-45 minutes a day. Phase 1 is 5-6 weeks. Phases 2 and 3 are 6 weeks and Phase 4 is 12 weeks. 

 

What is the cost and return on investment? 


According to the Children’s Reading Foundation,
most school districts spend $1,800 to $3,400 per child, per year on students who need remediation. This catch-up growth is very expensive and historically unsuccessful because children who are behind must achieve their normal year of growth plus another year of growth to catch up by even a single level. In addition, third graders who cannot read on grade level today are on track to be our nation’s lowest income, least skilled citizens. Spending $30-$60 a student/year depending on the number of students is a small price to pay to get students reading at grade level.

Program / Curriculum

My concern is that a student will develop a dependency on the glyphs.


Readable English does not teach students to be dependent on the code, the glyphs. Readable English is designed so that students and teachers remove the glyphs as they master the words and sounds, in the way you would remove training wheels from a bicycle. Few children ever become dependent on training wheels. In the
research studies that have been conducted, we’ve found that students actually simply ignore the glyphs for words that have been committed to memory as sight words.

Aren’t the glyphs just another code that will later need to be ‘unlearned’ or forgotten?’


Readable English makes English a phonetic language, making thousands of rules and complex exceptions redundant. Readable English is liberating – to date, no child has ever left the Readable English glyphs on, just as no child who learned to ride a b
ike ever left their training wheels on. Readable English provides students the agency to work to the level whereby they can switch the glyphs off once they get the text – and they do. 


Does learning the glyphs increase the cognitive load for students?


Readable English does not load the brain with another layer, in fact it removes the need for students to learn all the current phonetic/language conventional rules and exceptions – the existing layer where the
real cognitive load sits. In this way, Readable English lightens the cognitive load, making heavy load language rule and exception lessons redundant. This is why Professor John Sweller (the ‘father’ of the Cognitive Load Theory) is a public advocate of Readable English.


Will Readable English conflict with my current methods?


Readable English is not a substitute for the good practices that teachers implement, such as structured synthetic phonics programs. However, where other phonics programs fail to address “tricky words” such as ‘who’, ‘though’ and ‘yacht’, Readable English builds a pronunciation guide right into the word eliminating the need for memorization. We’ve found that the addition of the mark up does not conflict with most phonics based approaches, in that the spelling is kept in tact and it simply provides an extra visual cue that aligns with the rules students already know.


Many phonics programs denote the difference between sounds using italics or underlines, for example a regular  ‘oo’ for ‘boot’ and ‘th’ for ‘thumb’ and an underlined or italicized ‘
oo’ for ‘book’ and ‘th’ for ‘them’. Readable English goes a step further by adding diacritical marks called ‘glyphs’ to ANY letters that do not make their standard sound, such as in ‘blood’ and ‘brooch’.

Once a student has learned the glyphs, what support materials are available in Readable English?

A core component of the Readable English program is the ability for teachers to be able to convert any texts or classroom materials into Readable English. The conversion tools on the website enable teachers to instantly convert text or upload whole documents to be converted. You can watch a video about this on YouTube. We also provide a number of reading practice materials through the website, including printable reading practice worksheets and the online Reading Practice Module. We’re continually working with authors and publishers to get content that can be made available in Readable English.

Research / Pedagogy

What evidence do you have on the effectiveness of Readable English? 

You can read a peer-reviewed research paper on the effectiveness of Readable English here. We also collect standardized school testing data to show before and after results which you can view on our Research Results page. On average, students learning Readable English improve at twice the rate of students in control groups, for both reading accuracy and comprehension. Additionally, we have relationships with major universities in Australia and the US to continue to publish findings in peer reviewed journals.  

Isn’t English fairly phonetic, are the glyphs really needed? 

While to a proficient reader English may seem fairly phonetic, in reality it is very complex. In just the 1,000 most common words, approximately:

  • Only 38% are truly phonetic, meaning they can be sounded out with standard letter and digraph sounds. These include words like ‘can’, ‘list’, and ‘long’.
  • 35% follow one of 45 phonetic rules. Some of the basic rules include the ‘final e’ rule in words like ‘time’ and make’ and the 2 vowels go walking rule in words like ‘speak’ and ‘sail’.
  • 27% are exceptions to rules or simply need to be memorized. Exceptions to rules include words like ‘have’, ‘gone’, ‘break’ and ‘said’. And words that simply need to be memorized include words like ‘one’, ‘who’ and ‘ocean’’.

For learners, all this overloads their cognitive capacity. You can read a more detailed blog article about how complex the English language is here.