GRAPHOGAME – ON THE ROUTE TO SUPPORTING CHILDREN’S ACQUISITION OF BASIC READING SKILL ACROSS THE GLOBE

H. Lyytinen1, C. Yalukanda2, J. Erskine3, U. Richardson1

1University of Jyväskylä (FINLAND)
2University of Zambia (ZAMBIA)
3Izzy's Garden (UNITED KINGDOM)
Graphogame is an enjoyable learning environment that helps children to store the connections between spoken and written units of the learner’s spoken language. Within a few hours of exposure to playing, the vast majority of children are able to store the core skills for correct spelling and word recognition in transparent writing environments and, after a somewhat longer time, in non-transparent languages, such as English. This results from the learner’s self-directed discovery through observing that, while sounding out the phonemes of each letter in the order that these occur in the written item, one can pronounce a word (or whatever pronounceable item the meaning of which the learner does not know, e.g. new words). This is what happens in the transparent writing context. In non-transparent writing, the learner must learn connections between larger units because e.g. in English, no letter has the same sound in all of its occurrences.

The support will be made available without cost to children wherever we have implemented the sounds of the language to the program with help from local experts and also have documented, through critical experimental intervention studies, that the implementation is efficient in helping practically all first grade learners to learn to read when they use GraphoGame from the beginning of the first grade.

In Finland, hundreds of thousands of children have been using GraphoGame during recent years. The next country to accept its implementation via a form of public procurement is Zambia where the experimental studies are close to completion. The game has shown its efficiency, not only in transparent writing, but also e.g. in supporting reading acquisition in English, as shown by Kyle, Richardson, Lyytinen & Goswami, 2013.