Academy of Literacy converts the memory challenged into logic based learners.
Teaches the ALPHabetic Principle in a meaningful & predictable format.
Demo Video Clip

Given ALPHabiTunes has been developed specifically to teach children, most adults find it an anomaly. Just as special glasses are required for viewing 3D movies, so the pedagogy contained in this Foreword is required for the attainment of an ‘adult’s instructive perspective’.

…. for at least 20% to 30% of students, reading is one of the most difficult tasks that they will have to master throughout their schooling.

A task that for some students becomes insurmountable by the supposition that all learners have a memory system that is compatible with a memory-based learning methodology. My forty-years of empirical study has demonstrated, that just as PC and Mac computers do not share the same operating systems, at-risk learners do not share the same learning format as natural learners.

Louis Moats touches on this subject when she says, “One of the most fundamental flaws found in almost all phonics programs, including traditional ones is that they teach the code backwards. That is, they go from letter to sound instead of from sound to letter.”

This fundamental flaw often begins at home when young children, who naturally perceive words as sounds, are taught the ‘Alphabet Song’ as a prelude to reading in order to format their brains to think of words in terms of letters.

Because letters have no intrinsic meaning, children in school learn to link each letter’s name with its sound using pictures of objects that begin with the letters’ sounds, i.e. ‘a’ is for apple and ‘b’ is for ball. In this way the letter is presumably imbued with meaning ‘by association’ with a tangible object. For at-risk learners, however, the dichotomy between a letter’s shape and sound still remains. The shape of the letter gives no clue to its sound and its name gives no clue to its shape. Research literature suggests that only about 20% to 30% of children learn to read relatively easily using this traditional letter to sound format.

The reality is that words are made up of sounds not letters! Letters are a visual representation of sounds that when arranged in established patterns form written words that mirror spoken words. The English Language is built on this principle known as “The Alphabetic Principle”.

For at risk learners, the first task should be to teach them the pure sounds of letters in a way that makes the letters’ visual form suggestive of their sounds, orientation and function. The second task is to teach these learners to recognize the individual sounds of letters within spoken words. It has been my experience that, because our brains look for ‘meaning, only when the letters themselves are imbued with ‘meaning’ does the at-risk learner’s brain recognize the individual sounds of letters and ultimately the letter units that form words.

Most students come to school understanding and communicating in spoken language. A disconnect occurs, however, when at-risk learners are taught that sounds of words have ‘something’ to do with letters. It is this ‘something’ that educators cannot agree upon that turns, a simple 1-sound 1-letter correlation in 90% of words into a convoluted formula that very few understand making learning to read and spell a difficult task for most students.

Not only do we teach the code backwards from letters to sounds, we teach the code upside down – from single syllable words to multi-syllable words. In multi-syllable words two clear rules for vowels replace the deluge of rules used in single-syllable words.

However, the most problematic flaw is that we teach in reverse, from the ‘outside in’. Children are not empty vessels to be filled with information; they are repositories of life-experience, which is invaluable in the facilitation of new learning.

ALPHabiTunes is an ‘inside out design’ that teaches students how a letter’s sound(s), shape and emblematic behavior when amalgamated, personify their life’s experience. As a result, students begin to identify with the letters and are able to predict letters’ behavior based on this characteristic understanding versus vague rules.

ALPHabiTunes’ “inside-out” design also sets the stage for Socratic teaching where:

  1. students again become problem-solvers, a learning format that served them well as children.
  2. teachers learn to ask strategic questions that teach the critical-analytical thinking skills students need to construct and unlock more than 90% of the word in the English Language.
  3. the focus is not on the “right answers” but how students “arrive at the answers”.
  4. there are no “Wrong” answers only “Golden Learning Opportunities” that:
    1. provides teachers with the opportunity to
      • probe into students’ minds to see how they are processing learning
      • identify concepts that need to be reinforced
      • diagnosis and correct erroneous learning.
    2. provides students with the opportunity to:
      • analyze their answers and decide “does this work and if not why?”
      • hone critical thinking skills to target and solve any problems
      • become skilled ‘problem solvers’, who are confident and independent once again.


ReadbyGrade3 Reading and Reading Disabilities

Louisa C Moats American Educator/American Federation of Teachers Spring/summer 1998

This letter-sound approach has left us with a legacy of up to 40% illiteracy and a tally of less than 1 in ten today can spell There is very little correlation between reading and spelling, whereas there is 100% correlation between spelling and reading.

Research shows that all proficient readers rely on deep and ready knowledge of spelling-sound correspondence while reading, whether this was specifically taught or simply inferred by students. Conversely, failure to learn to use spelling sound correspondences to read and spell words is shown to be the most frequent and debilitating cause of reading difficulty.
Louisa C. Moats

The first thing students need to be taught is that words are made up of sounds not letters. Once a student begins to think of words in terms of sounds they can then begin to hone the skills of processing instead of guessing.

Whenever a student tells me they know how to spell a word I can almost guarantee they will spell the word incorrectly. It conveys to me that a student has been lured into taking the memory shortcut as opposed to using the carefully crafted strategies that enable them to successfully process.

By processing the student is able to:

  • ascertain if a word is spelled correctly
  • identify any errors
  • correct the errors with out assistance

When students use memory they have:

  • no way of ascertaining if the spelling is correct
  • to call on the assistance of others to identify any errors
  • to rely on someone else to make the necessary corrections.

Cost to the students:

  • takes longer
  • causes confusion
  • robs them of their self-esteem and self-confidence

Words are made up of sounds not letters.

By teaching children how to recognize the individual sounds they hear in words and how to correlate them with corresponding letters students begin to understand the Alphabetic Principle.

Once a student has learned the pure sounds of letters s/he can then learn how to match sounds to letters to form bytes of sound. Bytes of sound mirror syllables, however, unlike syllables where there must be a sounding vowel, bytes of sounds only need to contain a vowel. Bytes of sound like syllables reflect the natural cadence of.

Any teachers thinking they can teach ‘The Alphabetic Principle’ better than ALPHabiTunes given the lack of social interaction may want to check out the job requirements. (Tab – Design, Pages 3 & 4, Classroom IEP’s become child’s play.)


(ReadbyGrade3 Reading and Reading Disabilities)

Louisa C Moats American Educator/American Federation of Teachers Spring/summer 1998

This Demo Video was created and based on the original CD version of ALPHabiTunes. The new webApp version will be available once production is completed.