"Foniks" is a learn-to-read course where you can just mouse over letters and words to hear them spoken - technologically not...
"Foniks" is a learn-to-read course where you can just mouse over letters and words to hear them spoken - technologically not so hard, but a huge step forward in the teaching of reading.The printed book, almost 600 years old now, has always suffered from a fatal drawback: books can't talk. So books on their own can't teach people a foreign language, or how to read. But "Foniks" allows a direct link between text and speech which sure beats holding a book in one hand while negotiating fast wind buttons with the other.The effect is empowering and motivating for the learner, and has big implications for early learners : a 3-year-old already has the motor skills to manipulate a mouse over large-size text. Watching three-year-olds bring text to life by making it speak at their command is kind of eerie, I can tell you.After using Foniks, it seems needlessly hard to go back to a silent, paper book, where little can be learnt without the presence of a human teacher or a tape. But in educational terms, Foniks is conservative. Don't expect many Disneyesque cuties here - just good old solid learning, with a well-organised syllabus covering all the usual phonics sounds plus many more sounds from phonics' parent, phonetics. Make no mistake, this course will take you all the way from total illiterate to sentence-length reader.The art-work is hardly inspiring (but with some quaint surprises, such as mouse over the couple to hear their kiss!), and the accents are not everybody's cup of tea - Educated British, similar to an East coast American accent - but it's my guess that learners will love the simplicity, transparency and immediacy of this very effective learning tool for aspiring readers of all ages and nationalities. I just hope it doesn't put too many teachers out of work.Technical Remarks: Mac or PC are OK, IE (preferred) or Netscape with Flash player installed. Your computer must have sound.