Hello and welcome! I decided to start a blog so that I could chart my journey with this app, which began when I noticed that my 4 year old daughter who has auditory processing issues was nonetheless extremely interested in letters. While language acquisition has been tough for her, her memory and sorting skills are quite fantastic, especially when using a tablet. Shapes, colors, and sizes are very easy for her to remember and sort quickly.
So I began researching non phonics approaches to teaching reading, and found that good methods for visual reading approaches are few and far between. And worse, in my opinion, is that they mostly rely on whole word methods, which would be inherently quite difficult for a 4 year old who struggles with auditory processing.
I read a great PDF by a hearing impaired man who got a PhD where he implores educators to focus on visual reading strategies for hearing impaired students, who often learn to read only AFTER they’ve learned ASL, and essentially learn to read “through” ASL rather than visually.
I found another blog where an autistic man described his use of color coding to remember letters, which was a mechanism he developed as a child, never realizing that other people didn’t do this. He was over 30 years old before he realized that other people didn’t actually associate colors with letters!
Then I researched Color Grapheme Synesthesia – people who see letters in colors, and studies that have been done on colors that people naturally associate with certain letters. I found a research piece that included toddlers, and some 40 percent of them chose black for X and white for O. I figured that this research could serve as a starting point for developing an app using colors and shapes to map letters for people in a non phonics or audio way, and to develop a series of animated learning ebooks as well.
So that is how the Learn to Read Visually App was born.
As a developer, one of the most exciting things is when you find a perfect combination of tools to build your app, especially when they are ones you haven’t discovered before. After much research and testing, I came up with the combination of Pixi.js and Spine animation as the basis of my app development. In my next post, I’ll talk a little about how I chose these 2, and what cool things I’ve been able to do with them!