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An Education Invention

Postby carjug » Mon Jun 07, 2010 12:47 pm

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http://sites.google.com/site/colorthevowels/
It's a color code that helps people with reading problems sound out words. You won't like it, fluent readers don't care for it one whit, and it has no effect on dyslexia, but people with non-dyslexic reading trouble like it.
I'm not the first person to come up with this, at least four other people have independently done good work, and there is a patent out there somewhere. The problem with the whole idea is getting people to use it!
For me, the whole thing started when I found out I had the math version of dyslexia at age 42. This explained a lot... I was taking elementary education classes at the time, and I began to focus on the kids with learning trouble. One day as I was driving home, cussing my ineffectiveness when I saw a McDonald's sign, and I got the bright Idea that the colors in the sign could help my kids read. I bought a box of crayons, learned HTML computer code, and wound up with the website you see above.
Years have gone by. I have no idea how to get the silly stuff properly tested by qualified researchers. You would think that teachers would be on this like kittens on string; they don't have much to work with presently. That hasn't been the case, they are scared to do anything different and untested. Researchers in education play it safe as well, questionaires of student teachers pass as research while this project rots away in cyberspace.
What do I want? It isn't a patent or money. I want the satisfaction that comes with making the world a better place. I want for this idea to be used to help people with reading trouble. Is there any way to get this project out of a rut?

Re: An Education Invention

Postby JoeWaisman » Tue Jun 08, 2010 12:14 am

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This is interesting...but you do realize that this is similar to something I was introduced to in 1986. The teacher would put an arc over a vowel that used the "long" version of that vowels sound, and a straight line over something that used the short version.
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Re: An Education Invention

Postby Scrupulous » Tue Jun 08, 2010 9:19 am

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Some kind of universal color coding could be useful, being that most people have access to it.
The English language is so riddled with inconsistenties that it migh make more sense to just use the pronunciation symbols, like Joe said, or even just the schwa as the only vowel.
You could actually just make up a new symbol for a universal vowel, along with specific markings for the exact pronunciation of a particular usage.

I think meaning is more misunderstood than anything else.
Adding emphasis the way people speak would probably be the biggest help.
Nowadays, we all have to read a sterile mess of characters, all clumped together into paragraghs.
Changing text size for emphasis is an example of using the actual page space more funtionally.
Or using one line per sentence as a rule, like I'm doing now, could make reading easier.
It could also train students to avoid making run-on sentences.

Carjug, if you have a system that you think would take on a life of its own, go ahead and start using it whenever you write anything.
If its got legs, it will walk.
And thanks for the food for thought.

Re: An Education Invention

Postby rather-be-golfing » Tue Jun 08, 2010 9:43 am

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I love stuff like this and admire your intentions. Society needs to realize that different groups of people learn differently. For many (like me!) dyslexia is not necessarily a problem except when I am being taught using tools and techniques that work for non-dyslexics.

There are things that I found out about my reading and learning which I have never seen in any studies. The first is diet which I discovered by going low-carb to drop a few pounds. Not only did the weight melt away but I had a mental clarity that I cannot even describe. I know about a hundred people who have tried the same thing but only about twenty got the same results but it was life-changing for them as well. Kids diagnosed with ADD and even Autism in some cases can be helped tremendously by changing their diets. I believe that one side of my brain is like a kid with ADD....feed it properly and it behaves better and if you are really lucky it will pay you back by coming up with a million dollar idea or two!

I believe that a lot of dyslexics have a problem with the creative side of the brain actually interfering with the boring side. That's how I refer to them anyway! I think that perhaps that has something to do with why this color reading may help. That simple difference is enough to satisfy your creativity?
I found that music worked for me....I slap on a set of headphones to 'soothe' my creative brain so that it won't distract my studying.

Have you ever seen that email test where a paragraph is written where only the first and last letter of each word are in order? Most people can read that with no problem whatsoever (which is why that FCUK brand is so horribly offensive !) In my dyslexic brain, that lack of the need to focus on an entire word causes a chain reaction and allows my creative brain to take over and distract me. Add the color and maybe that doesn't happen? Just a guess.

OK...so now I would like to do some testing to prove my theories!

Re: An Education Invention

Postby jackbnimble56 » Wed Jun 09, 2010 8:32 am

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carjug

This is very interesting. My wife is a special ed teacher who specializes in reading. I'm going to have her take a look at your site to see what her thoughts are. I'm guessing the numbers you have assigned to the various colors are from something like a Pantone palate? The only possible drawback I can see is whether the subtle shades of color could pose a problem for those whose vision may not cover the whole spectrum, but I believe such people make up a very small segment of the population. The section on “R” sounds may also require some remedial work for those of us who grew up in the Boston area where the letter is almost unknown to some! ;)

Jack
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