NEWS I Wilma, Visma’s ubiquitous online school administration service, is providing the GraphoGame early literacy skills app in English for all children of Finland. This donation is in support of Finland’s new curriculum, which now begins foreign language studies in the first grade. The learning app will be available for free download in English. It can be used with mobile devices, tablets or desktop computers, and is an important complement to regular school work.
Jukka Holm, CEO of Visma Enterprise Ltd behind the Wilma-service for schools in Finland says:
"We believe the ability to read and converse in different languages will be one of the critical skills in the future working life. That is why we want to give the use of this early literacy game as our Christmas gift to all children now starting to learn English as their first foreign language according to our new curriculum in Finland.”
“We are so happy to discover GraphoGame and are confident its academically researched methodology will support this new curriculum, especially in times of remote learning.”
Wilma service is already used by 98% of Finnish elementary schools and will be used as a channel to inform schools about GraphoGame. Besides elementary schools, Wilma is used in secondary schools and organisations and is now being expanded to early childhood education.
Supporting early literacy skills in remote learning
Grapho Group works with a diverse set of impact-oriented organisations to enable the paid distribution of GraphoGame as a free national literacy resource in various countries worldwide. Customers also include school suppliers, schools, speech therapy clinics and parents.
Mervi Palander, CEO and founder of Grapho Group Ltd says:
“We are extremely happy about this joint impact project with Visma Enterprise. With the GraphoGame app, we can provide safe and engaging complementary literacy training to support remote learning in Finland right now. It is important to us that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we make our contribution to ensuring the learning of critical life skills.”
Graphogame has been proven to complement early literacy education and offers individualized and adaptive learning to children with different needs.
Mervi Palander continues:
“We like to make ourselves available to everyone, even though we put kids first. So far, we have exceeded over 1,5 million downloads across Android, iOS and Microsoft app stores, and the numbers keep increasing around the world. It is great to see so many countries making literacy skills a national priority.”
Advancing literacy skills worldwide
GraphoGame was initially created by the University of Jyväskylä and Niilo Mäki Institute from Finland as a result of decades of longitudinal research and development. It is a literacy software and e-learning methodology that has been used as part of the Finnish school curriculum for over a decade to support literacy instruction.
Since then, GraphoGame has been contextualised into multiple languages including English (British & American), Brazilian Portuguese, French, Spanish, Chinese Pinyin & Zhuyin, Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish, Bahasa Indonesia, CiNyanja and Swahili by top universities around the world. These include the University of Cambridge Centre for Neuroscience in Education, Haskins Laboratories (Yale) and Aix-Marseille University for the British English, American English and French language versions of GraphoGame, respectively.
Wilma service’s paid distribution of GraphoGame for English adds Finland to the growing list of countries where GraphoGame is offered as a free national literacy resource. The list includes Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, France, Norway, Panama and the USA, where GraphoGame is being used as a literacy intervention for 4 to 9-year-old children and struggling English readers.
Berit Virtanen-Thewlis, PR & Communications, Grapho Group Ltd, +358 40 511 4460, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sanna Burton, Communications Director, Visma Finland, +358 50 322 5222, email@example.com
About Wilma service
Wilma is a safe web service for schools where all kinds of information can be shared in real-time. The information is contained, e.g. personal data, schedules, attendance and messages. Students, guardians, teachers and the administration are all active users of Wilma, and every school can customize what information to show and when. https://www.visma.fi/wilma
About Visma companies
Visma makes businesses more efficient, through offerings of software, commerce solutions, retail IT-solutions, and IT-related projects and consulting. Visma simplifies and digitalizes core business processes within the private and public sector. 1 000 000 customers in Northern Europe utilize Visma's products and services. The group has over 11 00 employees and its net revenue amounted to EUR 1.5 billion in 2019. In Finland, Visma has ten subsidiary companies, employs ca. 1400 people and serves over 100 000 customers. Visit www.visma.fi/enterprise to learn more.
GraphoGame is an academically researched learning game for teaching children early literacy skills in English, French and many more languages. With 250 million illiterate children in the world and up to 10% of all people having dyslexia, teachers and schools struggle to provide the 1-on-1 support these children need. GraphoGame produces analytics of the child's decoding & phonics practice, allowing teachers to quickly react to bottlenecks in their learning. GraphoGame is evidence-based, meaning all content has been developed, studied and validated by experts in universities around the world, such as the University of Cambridge and the University of Aix-Marseille. Find out more at www.graphogame.com
NEWS I Grapho Group Ltd de Finlandia ha lanzado la versión en portugués brasileño de su intervención de aprendizaje de alfabetización temprana como una aplicación gratuita en todo Brasil. Este lanzamiento público está dirigido y respaldado por el presidente de Brasil, Jair Bolsonaro, cuyo anuncio de la iniciativa de alfabetización se transmitió en televisión, redes sociales y varias estaciones de radio en todo el país. El acuerdo comercial firmado entre Grapho Group Ltd y el Ministerio de Educación de Brasil permite la distribución de GraphoGame a más de 11 millones de niños que hablan portugués brasileño.
GraphoGame Brasil es parte del programa Tempo de Aprender (Tiempo para aprender) dirigido por el Ministerio de Educación de Brasil para proporcionar a los niños, las familias y los maestros recursos escolares y de alfabetización eficaces.
El socio académico local de Grapho Group, el Instituto do Cérebro de la PUCRS, también realizará un estudio de eficacia sobre el juego del portugués brasileño.
La distribución paga de GraphoGame en Brasil se suma a la creciente lista de países donde GraphoGame se ofrece como un recurso nacional gratuito de alfabetización. Estos incluyen a los EE.UU., Argentina, Colombia, Panamá y Chile, patrocinados por Haskins Global Literacy Hub, el Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo y CEDETi UC, respectivamente. La aplicación también está disponible de forma gratuita en Francia y Noruega.
Jouko Leinonen, el embajador de Finlandia en Brasil, comentó después del anuncio de la campaña de alfabetización en Brasil:
“Estamos muy orgullosos de ver una innovación de investigación finlandesa, GraphoGame, como la tecnología impulsora para llevar esta importante iniciativa de alfabetización a nivel nacional en Brasil. El Ministerio de Educación de Brasil ha mostrado una determinación notable para abordar este problema actual, ya que afecta a toda la nación ahora y en el futuro si no se le presta atención ”.
Jaana Palojärvi, directora de Relaciones Internacionales del Ministerio de Educación de Finlandia, dijo:
“Este es otro logro notable de Grapho Group. Su innovadora aplicación de habilidades de alfabetización está ganando atención rápidamente y tiene un impacto en un problema globalmente crítico: el analfabetismo. También es un buen ejemplo de cómo hacer que una asociación público-privada funcione para combatir el analfabetismo a escala nacional ”.
Fomento de la alfabetización en todo el mundo
GraphoGame fue creado inicialmente por la Universidad de Jyväskylä y el Instituto Niilo Mäki de Finlandia como resultado de décadas de investigación y desarrollo longitudinal. Es un software de alfabetización y una metodología de aprendizaje electrónico que se ha utilizado como parte del plan de estudios de las escuelas finlandesas durante más de una década.
Desde entonces, GraphoGame ha sido contextualizado en varios idiomas, incluidos inglés (británico y americano), portugués europeo, francés, español, chino pinyin y zhuyin, holandés, noruego, sueco, bahasa indonesio, cinyanja y swahili por las mejores universidades de todo el mundo. Estas universidades incluyen el Centro de Neurociencia en Educación de la Universidad de Cambridge, los Laboratorios Haskins (Yale), la Universidad Aix-Marseille y el Instituto do Cérebro (PUCRS) para las versiones en inglés británico, inglés americano, francés y portugués brasileño de GraphoGame, respectivamente.
El juego de la versión en portugués brasileño ha sido investigado y desarrollado en colaboración con la Universidad de Jyväskylä en Finlandia y con socios universitarios en el Brain Institute of Rio Grande Do Sul PUCRS en Brasil.
El profesor Augusto Buchweitz de la PUCRS dijo sobre el trabajo de desarrollo:
“El desarrollo y lanzamiento a nivel nacional de la versión en portugués brasileño de Graphogame es parte de los esfuerzos de Grapholearn y Grapho Group Ltd en colaboración con Haskins Global Literacy Hub. El centro es una red mundial de científicos de la lectura que, entre otros objetivos, tiene como objetivo aumentar la accesibilidad a la tecnología educativa eficaz (EdTech) en los países en desarrollo ".
“Se ha demostrado que Graphogame complementa la educación de alfabetización temprana y ofrece un aprendizaje individualizado y adaptativo a niños con diferentes necesidades. Los esfuerzos surgieron como respuesta a la brecha de aprendizaje en la alfabetización temprana entre niños pobres y ricos, que solo está aumentando como resultado de COVID19. A lo largo de 2021, implementaremos estudios con GraphoGame Brasil en ciudades de Brasil para evaluar su efectividad y mejorar su contenido ”.
Ulla Richardson, profesora del Centro de Estudios del Lenguaje Aplicado de la Universidad de Jyväskylä, comentó:
“Estamos emocionados de saber del exitoso lanzamiento de la última versión de idioma de GraphoGame en Brasil. Ha sido necesario años de arduo trabajo y dedicación por parte de tantas personas para implementar la tecnología para abordar el problema mundial del analfabetismo. No podríamos estar más felices de ver a otro país que coloca este tema en el centro de su interés nacional inmediato ”.
Un nuevo plan de estudios para apoyar las habilidades de alfabetización en Brasil
Grapho Group trabaja con un conjunto diverso de organizaciones, como gobiernos, ONG, fundaciones, organizaciones benéficas para permitir la distribución paga de GraphoGame como un recurso nacional gratuito de alfabetización en varios países del mundo. Los clientes también incluyen proveedores escolares, escuelas, clínicas de terapia del habla y padres.
Mervi Palander, CEO y fundador de Grapho Group Ltd declaró después del lanzamiento:
“El desarrollo de la versión en portugués brasileño de GraphoGame y su distribución paga no habría sido posible sin nuestra estrecha colaboración con la PUCRS y el Ministerio de Educación de Brasil. Ha sido un gran placer trabajar con todos en este proyecto y estamos agradecidos de verlo avanzar con el apoyo del presidente Bolsonaro ".
Mervi Palander continuó:
“Hasta ahora, ya hemos superado más de 1,4 millones de descargas en las tiendas de aplicaciones de Android, iOS y Microsoft, y las cifras siguen aumentando en todo el mundo. Es genial ver a tantos países haciendo de las habilidades de alfabetización una prioridad nacional ".
Contacto con los medios:
Berit Virtanen-Thewlis, Relaciones con la prensa de GraphoGame, +358 40511 4460, firstname.lastname@example.org
GraphoGame es un juego de aprendizaje de investigación académica para enseñar a los niños habilidades de alfabetización temprana en inglés, francés y muchos más idiomas. Con 250 millones de niños analfabetos en el mundo y hasta un 10% de todas las personas con dislexia, los maestros y las escuelas luchan por brindar el apoyo individualizado que estos niños necesitan. GraphoGame produce análisis de la práctica de decodificación y fonética del niño, lo que permite a los maestros reaccionar rápidamente a los obstáculos en su aprendizaje. GraphoGame se basa en pruebas, lo que significa que todo el contenido ha sido desarrollado, estudiado y validado por expertos en universidades de todo el mundo, como la Universidad de Cambridge y la Universidad de Aix-Marsella.
NEWS I Grapho Group Ltd from Finland has launched the Brazilian Portuguese language version of their early literacy learning intervention as a free app across Brazil. This public launch is led and endorsed by Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro whose announcement for the literacy initiative was broadcasted on TV, social media and several radio stations nationwide. The signed commercial agreement between Grapho Group Ltd and the Ministry of Education in Brazil enables the distribution of GraphoGame to over 11 million children speaking Brazilian Portuguese.
GraphoGame Brazil is part of the Tempo de Aprender (Time to Learn) programme run by the Brazilian Ministry of Education to provide children, families and teachers with effective school and literacy resources.
Grapho Group’s local academic partner, Instituto do Cérebro at PUCRS, will also be running an efficacy study on the Brazilian Portuguese game.
The paid distribution of GraphoGame in Brazil adds to the growing list of countries where GraphoGame is offered as a national literacy resource. These include the USA, Argentina, Colombia, Panama and Chile sponsored by Haskins Global Literacy Hub, Inter-American Development Bank and CEDETi UC, respectively. The app is also available through paid distribution in France and Norway.
Jouko Leinonen, the Ambassador of Finland in Brazil, commented after the announcement of the literacy skills campaign in Brazil:
“We are so proud to see a Finnish research innovation, GraphoGame, to be the driving technology to take this important literacy skills initiative nationwide in Brazil. The Ministry of Education in Brazil has shown a remarkable determination to tackle this current issue as it impacts the whole nation now and in the future if not paid attention to.”
Jaana Palojärvi, Director for International Relations for Ministry of Education in Finland, said:
“This is yet another remarkable achievement by Grapho Group. Their innovative literacy skills app is quickly gaining attention and making an impact on a globally critical issue - illiteracy. It is also a good example of how to make a Public-private partnership work to tackle illiteracy on a national scale.”
Advancing literacy skills worldwide
GraphoGame was initially created by the University of Jyväskylä and Niilo Mäki Institute from Finland as a result of decades of longitudinal research and development. It is a literacy software and e-learning methodology that has been used as part of the Finnish school curriculum for over a decade.
Since then, GraphoGame has been contextualised into multiple languages including English (British & American), European Portuguese, French, Spanish, Chinese Pinyin & Zhuyin, Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish, Bahasa Indonesia, Cinyanja and Swahili by top universities around the world. These Universities include the University of Cambridge Centre for Neuroscience in Education, Haskins Laboratories (Yale), Aix-Marseille University and Instituto do Cérebro (PUCRS) for the British English, American English French and Brazilian Portuguese language versions of GraphoGame, respectively.
The Brazilian Portuguese language version game has been researched and developed in collaboration with the University of Jyväskylä in Finland and with university partners at Brain Institute of Rio Grande Do Sul PUCRS in Brazil.
Professor Augusto Buchweitz at PUCRS said on the development work:
“The development and nationwide release of the Brazilian Portuguese version of Graphogame is part of the efforts of Grapholearn and Grapho Group Oy in collaboration with the Haskins Global Literacy Hub. The hub is a worldwide network of scientists of reading that, among other goals, aims to increase the accessibility to effective Education Technology (EdTech) in developing countries.”
“Graphogame has been proven to complement early literacy education and offers individualized and adaptive learning to children with different needs. The efforts came as a response to the learning gap in early literacy between poor and rich children, which is only increasing as a result of COVID19. Throughout 2021, we will be implementing studies with GraphoGame Brasil in cities across Brazil to evaluate its effectiveness and improve its content.”
Ulla Richardson, Professor in Center of Applied Language Studies, University of Jyväskylä, commented:
“We are excited to hear of the successful launch of the latest language version of GraphoGame in Brazil. It has taken years of hard work and dedication by so many people to put the technology in place to tackle the global issue of illiteracy. We could not be happier to see yet another country putting this issue in the core of their immediate national interest.”
A new curriculum to support literacy skills in Brazil
Grapho Group works with a diverse set of organisations such as governments, NGOs, foundations, charities to enable the paid distribution of GraphoGame as a free national literacy resource in various countries worldwide. Customers also include school suppliers, schools, speech therapy clinics and parents.
Mervi Palander, CEO and founder of Grapho Group Ltd stated after the launch:
“The development of the Brazilian Portuguese language version of GraphoGame and its paid distribution would not have been possible without our close collaboration with PUCRS and the Ministry of Education in Brazil. It has been an absolute pleasure to work with everybody in this project and we are grateful to see it go forward with President Bolsonaro’s support.”
“So far, we have already exceeded over 1,4 million downloads across Android, iOS and Microsoft app stores, and the numbers keep increasing around the world. It is great to see so many countries making literacy skills a national priority.”
Watch the announcement from President Bolsonaro’s livestream (39:00 - 49:00)
Berit Virtanen-Thewlis, GraphoGame Press relations, +358 40 511 4460, email@example.com
Literacy development is vital for children’s overall development. So, it is not surprising that September 8th every year has been set aside as the day the world celebrates International Literacy Day (ILD). On ILD, we are reminded of the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights while raising awareness and concerns for global literacy problems and advancing the literacy agenda towards a more literate and sustainable society.
How it all started
The idea for an ILD was birthed at the “World Conference of Ministers of Education on the Eradication of Illiteracy” held in Tehran, Iran in 1965. In 1966, UNESCO declared September 8 as International Literacy Day ‘to remind the international community of the importance of literacy for individuals, communities and societies, and the need for intensified efforts towards more literate societies’. Since 1967, ILD has been celebrated on annually on September 8th.
Literacy teaching and learning in the COVID-19 crisis and beyond
The theme for the 2020 International Literacy Day is ‘Literacy teaching and learning in the COVID-19 crisis and beyond’. The theme highlights the role of educators and changing pedagogies and draws attention to literacy learning as a lifelong learning activity. This year, ILD focuses on youth and adults. UNESCO statistics indicates that at least 773 million adults worldwide today lack basic literacy skills and 617 million children and adolescents are not achieving minimum proficiency levels in reading and mathematics.
The COVID-19 pandemic that led to school closures affected about 35% of learners learning to read, causing a situation that has been described to as the COVID-slide. Situating the theme of this year’s ILD within the context of the COVID-19 crisis and beyond is a call for stakeholders to reflect on the impact of the crisis on youth and adult literacy educators and teaching and learning, on lessons learnt and on ways to effectively position youth and adult literacy learning in global and national responses.
Importance of early childhood literacy
Although the focus on this year’s ILD is on youth and adults, it is important to draw attention to the importance of early childhood literacy learning. Effective early childhood literacy learning sets a strong foundation and is crucial for better literacy outcomes and long-term success as adults. In fact, when we invest in helping children to learn to read, we offer them a priceless gift of enabling them to read to learn as they grow older, which helps them flourish emotionally, academically, socially and in many other spheres of life.
GraphoGame: an effective early childhood learning resource
One of the ways of supporting early childhood literacy learning that has the potential to yield significant returns is to invest in evidence-based learning games such as GraphoGame.
GraphoGame is an academically researched literacy learning app, game and methodology for teaching kindergarten and primary school children early grade literacy in multiple languages including English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Chinese. GraphoGame has been developed by linguists, neuropsychologists and speech pathologists to help children to improve their reading and spelling, while simultaneously supporting struggling and dyslexic readers to boost their reading confidence.
Grapho Group Oy is an educational game company that develops scientifically validated literacy tools for home and school and is the developer of GraphoGame, the early literacy app made and validated by scientists. GraphoGame was developed as a part of a research initiative in 2011 and Grapho Group Oy was founded in Helsinki in 2017 and employs five persons and manages a partner network of neuropsychology, linguistics and pedagogy researchers in universities around the world. Our customers are NGOs, governments, school suppliers, schools, speech therapy clinics and parents.
Grapho Group Oy has partnered with a number of institutions to make different language versions of GraphoGame a free app for end-users in a number of countries. For example, we have partnership with Haskins Global Literacy Hub to make the American English version of GraphoGame free of charge for all US residents. Through partnership with Aix-Marseille University, the French version of the game is now free in France. We have equally partnered with the Inter-American Development Bank to make the Spanish language version of the game a free app for residents of Argentina, Columbia, Panama. We are currently finalising negotiations with the government of Brazil to make the game a free app in Brazil. A number of negotiations are still ongoing with different institutions in Asia and Africa to enable residents have free access to the game.
Check out GraphoGame today to find out ways to support early childhood literacy for your kid, school, community, or even an entire country.
Have a memorable International Literacy Day celebration!
Elizabeth Agbor Eta (PhD)
Project Director at GraphoGame.
In the European Union, 56% of people, more than half, speak at least two languages. There are many households where one or both parents speak a different native language.
Is it a good idea to raise your kids to be bilingual? Should you put them in bilingual education? How can you support your kids as they forge ahead learning two languages at the same time? These are some of the questions parents struggle with which are addressed in this blog post.
Benefits of Bilingualism
Early linguists originally thought that learning two languages at the same time led to slight developmental delays. Unfortunately, this belief has stuck around though now researchers know that bilingualism helps to develop skills that can give children an advantage in the classroom.
Knowing which language to speak requires inhibition and task switching, which contributes to developing better attention. Figuring out with whom to use which language also develops empathy.
There is some evidence that active bilingualism makes structural changes in the brain that can help stave off Alzheimer’s and dementia in the elderly. Moreover, bilinguals who have Alzheimer’s continue to function at a higher rate than monolinguals, even when they have more brain damage.
What Is Bilingual Literacy?
So, learning a second language is a great idea — how about learning to read both? Another common misunderstanding is that speaking two languages makes learning to read difficult.
Again, research has found that this is not true. From being exposed to multiple languages from a young age, children actually have an easier time understanding word structure. This, in turn, heightens phonological awareness — an important pre-literacy skill.
Reading advantages of being bilingual vary depending on the two languages that the child speaks. For example, if a child speaks related languages like Spanish and Italian, they will have an easier time learning to read in both than in unrelated languages like English and Japanese.
How Parents Can Help
Putting kids in a bilingual classroom is perhaps one of the best ways parents can help their kids develop bilingual literacy. However, this option won’t be available to all parents.
If one or both parents speak a different language than that of your child’s school, focus on speaking this language in the home. They’re getting plenty of instruction in the school’s language so they need exposure to your language at home.
Some parents get discouraged when children mix up languages and stop teaching them, fearing they will stunt their education. Don’t do this! As children practice they will separate the two languages and surge forward in learning to speak, read, and write both.
Spend time reading to your kids in your target language. This is not only an excellent activity for helping them to develop language and reading skills, but also a great way for you to spend quality time with them. Kids will remember reading together fondly, a positive association that will help them want to learn to read.
Whatever your situation, reading games can help support kids’ development and help them learn to read faster. For example, GraphoGame is an app backed by research that can help children learn to read in a variety of languages including English, French, Chinese, Dutch and many others. It combines Finnish educational expertise (one of the best educational rubrics in the world) with top-level research in neuroscience.
Want to learn more? Don’t hesitate to check it out! Your kids will love learning to read with GraphoGame’s unique learning software.
Photo credit: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Project Director at GraphoGame
Who educates your children? The school? Their teachers? It's easy to put it off and say this isn't on us. We feed them, clothe them, raise them, learning is the school's problem.
But that isn't how it works. Research shows that learning ability begins at birth. And a lot depends on the activities children do with their parents, at home, before the age of five. So, a big part of it is on you.
What is emergent literacy?
It refers to the informal early learning stages of children. Or the part where your child is learning how to read and write. And the role you play in these early years affects how they learn and develop their literacy skills. A lot of the literature you read on the subject can sound vague.
However, if you want an exact image of what emergent literacy is, well, you already have it. It's when you read a picture book to a toddler, and they point at the pictures. Or when you read them a storybook, and they turn the pages. It is the sounds they make to sing along to your nursery rhyme. It is every crayon scribble and gaggle sound. When you put in that effort, your child instinctively responds as its brain processes the information.
Why is it important?
These early steps are essential in helping your child learn how to read and write later in school. The babbling leads to speaking, the scribbles to writing, and the page-turning to reading. Studies prove how students who read at a higher level were read to, by their parents, in childhood and early infancy.
How can you help your children develop these skills?
The best part is that it's straightforward to help your children develop these skills. All it takes is spending time with them and doing simple activities.
Speaking: Children absorb information from the adults around them. Their brains don't know how language works. So, when you talk to them, they take in the form and shape of words. The sounds they make are them trying to copy your tone and rhythm.
So, spend as much time talking to your children as possible. Don't try to copy their baby talk or make sounds back at them. Instead, speak normally and in short sentences. Ask them questions and pretend you're having a regular conversation with them. This will help your child learn how to speak quicker.
Reading Storybooks: Make storybook reading a daily habit. Pick books with colourful images and repeat the same ones. A mistake a lot of parents make today is reading from their kindle or phone. By doing that, you are robbing your child of the opportunity to participate in the activity.
You don't want to distract them with a bright screen. You want to have that bonding moment where you move your child's finger under the line. Or when they turn the page while you're in the middle of a sentence. It is the activity that matters. And the interaction that will teach them how to read.
Singing Nursery Rhymes: Remember, children pick up the language through tone and rhythm. The reason nursery rhymes work is the same reason a catchy song sticks in your head
When you sing your child a nursery rhyme their undivided attention is on you. Take classics like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. At some point, they'll start copying your hand movements. Then they'll try to copy the words.
Drawing and Coloring: Handling writing mediums is the first step to learning how to write. Those early crayon squiggles might not look like much, but that is your child learning how to hold the crayon. It helps them adjust to the weight of the tools and develops hand control and dexterity.
Toys and games: There are a lot of games you can play with your children. But some toys are more useful than others. One toy you should get your child is building blocks. They come in all sizes and colours. And you can play together to build houses, trains, and all sorts of things.
Studies into the subject show that children who grow up playing with blocks are more likely to pursue careers in fields like engineering. That is because the act of building things and joining parts develops key parts of their brains.
There are a lot of steps you can take to improve your child's ability. All it takes is a little attention. It can be easy to overlook those early steps, however, their importance cannot be overemphasised!
Photo credit: Picsea on Unsplash
Some children learn how to read, write, communicate, and socialise quickly while others struggle, and that’s okay. Early literacy development varies from child to child, so all children will progress at different rates.
Different skills are needed for children’s literacy competence. Take a look at some of the essential literacy skills that children need to develop to succeed in their learning journey.
The English alphabetic writing system is made up of 26 letters. However, there are almost two times more sound units (phonemes) for these letters. The letters in words represent different sounds that dictate how each word should be pronounced. Without this awareness, children can’t read and pronounce new words correctly.
Phonemes aren’t inherently obvious, so they must be taught. There are many different approaches to impart phonemic awareness skills in children. These include the following:
Our GraphoGame literacy learning app for children was designed specifically to facilitate children phonemic awareness at home or school. In other words, GraphoGame helps children to connect written language segments with the corresponding speech sounds.
Awareness of Print
Print is ubiquitous. It can be seen in alphabet books and storybooks, on signs and billboards, and in magazines, and newspapers. With that said, many children are likely to come across it before starting school.
Children’s level of print awareness is a very strong predictor of their future reading achievement. Children with an awareness of print understand that written communication is related to oral communication. They see that, like verbal communication, printed language carries meaning. Children who lack print awareness may not become effective readers.
Imagine relying on a few words to communicate an idea. Whether spoken or written, your communication won’t be engaging or persuasive.
Children need to build a strong vocabulary for school, work readiness, and general life skills. They need to constantly learn new words so they can have a rich vocabulary that will help them communicate better and make a positive impression on others.
Kids learn the first words from their parents and other older household members. Hence, families play an important role in children’s performance of vocabulary.
Many children start to speak before they go to school but very few can spell the words that they use. Spelling skills help children differentiate words that are pronounced the same way but are written differently.
Children can be taught how to spell correctly in a variety of ways, including:
The primary use of words is to convey meaning. Words mean nothing if children can’t understand how and why they’ve been used. Comprehension skills are essential to ensure children understand what they read.
A variety of strategies can be deployed to help children improve their reading or text comprehension skills. These include the following:
Families and educators should team up to improve children’s literacy development
When it comes to early literacy development, the main takeaway is that all children are different. Parents should work together with educators to help every child acquire the skills they need to achieve literacy success.
Image credit: Jerry Wang on Unsplash
Co-founder & Head of Partnerships at GraphoGame
Albert Einstein, king of the pithy statement, once said, “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”
And, it will come as no surprise, that the eminent scientist has been proven right time and again. In fact, studies into the effects of reading on childhood development highlight that reading for pleasure doesn’t just help a child’s educational performance.
Children who read daily not only do better in school, but have a more extensive vocabulary, better general knowledge, and an improved understanding and interest in other cultures.
Why does reading matter?
Research by BookTrust, the largest children’s reading charity in the UK, has found that reading allows children to develop a wide range of literacy skills, as well as setting the foundations for social interactions.
Based on research from 2014, BookTrust advises that book experiences for children should start from as early as 3-4 months of age, and their enhanced language and communication skills become evident from around 8 months old.
Books also provide a ‘stable source of information’ for a child, which allows them to make sense of what they encounter in the world. This vital background knowledge of “the world out there” helps improve their cognitive development.
Reading as childhood #lifehacks
It’s no stretch to say that childhood reading helps children to develop critical life skills, as well as thinking skills. That’s not all that some time with a good book can do for your little one.
Reading is Fundamental
There are some great ways to promote reading to your child, including:
Image credit: Ben White on Unsplash
Project Director at GraphoGame
During the Coronavirus pandemic and consequent lockdown, a lot of questions have been brought up about education. As children can no longer attend traditional schools, parents are having to figure out how they will manage their children’s education. While it is certainly a challenge, especially insofar as it requires juggling school with work with household maintenance in a way like never before, it’s also a unique opportunity to make individualized choices for what will best suit your children, allowing you to move past the typical understanding of learning as something that takes place through books, spreadsheets, and lectures.
Because, in reality, learning is so much more than that. In fact, one of the best ways to help your children learn is just to give them the space and freedom to engage in unstructured play on their own terms. This article explains why play is so important to learning and how you can leverage it to help your children.
Why Play Is So Important
If your kid would rather build structures out of Legos or play pretend instead of doing worksheets or sitting through Zoom lessons all day, don’t worry, they’re not being lazy or brainless. In fact, just the opposite. Because, especially for young children, education is about so much more than just learning facts and figures.
Many experts consider play absolutely key to learning. In fact, the United Nations has even recognized it as a human right for all children. That’s because play gives children a way to make sense of the world, letting them use their innate curiosity for the better. It encourages creativity and problem solving and lets kids use their imaginations.
Beyond that, play is also critical for setting the stage for further learning and brain development. It develops children’s emerging skills, motivates them, and increases their chances of enjoying the process of learning throughout their lives. According to the Canadian Council on Learning, "Play nourishes every aspect of children’s development – it forms the foundation of intellectual, social, physical, and emotional skills necessary for success in school and in life.”
Here’s a short list of just some of the things that play helps children learn:
What is Play?
But just because play is natural and comes to children easily doesn’t mean that we’re encouraging you to go completely hands-off in their education. On the contrary, the more deliberate your children’s playtime, the more they will get out of it. As a parent, it’s up to you to make sure that your kids are being set up to optimally learn through play.
However, it’s important to know that play should be spontaneous and voluntary. There shouldn’t be any extrinsic goal, and the child should be engaged and enjoying themselves, able to stop whenever they want.
So what's your role in all of this?
Don’t feel pressured to over-schedule your child’s time with books and workbooks and online learning. Instead, give them the unstructured free time to try new things, invent, create, and explore. Create an environment that encourages and facilitates play. Give your child access to blocks, art supplies, games, and costumes and props for their make-believe.
The beautiful thing is that children can and should figure it out for themselves. So you don’t need to feel guilty if you can’t be on top of your child every second, micromanaging their time in the name of education. It’s okay if you need to focus for a bit on your work or chores or self-care. Your kid won’t lose anything for having more free play time. In fact, they’ll probably get even more out of it.
Photo source: https://unsplash.com/photos/ecRuhwPIW7c
There are so many challenges that have come with the global Coronavirus lockdown, and we’re all struggling to make things work in this new, uncharted territory. But one thing that is for certain is that parents are being especially stretched, having to balance working from home and doing their own usual household tasks with the new challenge of helping their kids continue learning in the absence of traditional classroom education.
It’s become clear to many that engaging, motivating, and focusing a child on schoolwork is no easy feat. Here are some tips and ideas you can try out to help inspire your kids to learn while stuck at home.
Make it Fun
One way you can motivate your kids to learn at home is to make learning fun. After all, kids are driven by nothing if not a good time. Of course it will be difficult to encourage your kid to make it through a dreary math worksheet, but you’ll have a much easier time getting them to learn the same exact material if the method of delivery is more engaging.
We highly recommend looking into online learning for kids, which is specifically designed to be engaging for the appropriate age level. For example, there are a myriad of educational websites full of learning games in every subject from English to science to math and more. You might even get lucky and find educational games that your child loves so much that they’d rather do them than play a video game or watch a YouTube video.
Let Them Lead
Another tip to get your kids learning during lockdown is to let them take the lead in the process. In fact, that is a unique advantage of this time. With more freedom, your child can have the opportunity to learn about and explore the topics that are of special interest to them. After all, kids are naturally curious creatures and have an innate drive to learn about new things. Chances are, your child is teeming with questions and topics they want to learn more about.
So take this as an opportunity to get to know your child’s interests and encourage and facilitate their exploration of them. Is your kid an astronomy lover? Get them a children’s telescope. Do they love experimenting with mixing together different liquids from around the house? Consider finding them some chemistry experiments to do. Are they super into the history of ancient Egypt? There are sure to be some kid-friendly books and documentaries on the subject you can give them.
As a parent, you probably already know the power of rewards in disciplining and raising children. From praising your children when they use the potty for the first time to letting your teenager borrow your car after a week of good behaviour, rewards are one of the most powerful tools in the parenting box. And that tool is equally effective when it comes to motivating your child to learn.
Depending on your child’s age, personality, and interests, identify some appropriate rewards that are minor enough to be affordable and easy to give but special enough to make a difference. That might be a sticker, a healthy treat, twenty minutes of video game time, or something else - it’s up to you.
The important part is tying that reward to the achievement of certain learning goals. For example, you might give your child a reward if they manage to finish a certain number of pages in a book by the end of the day. The great thing about this method is that it’s so flexible and can be adjusted to fit your family’s particular needs.
If you can use these tips, you’ll tap into your child’s natural tendencies, interests, and desires to get them learning enthusiastically - and hopefully give you a spare moment to yourself.
Good luck and stay healthy!
Photo by Santi Vedrí on Unsplash
Elizabeth Agbor Eta
Project Director at GraphoGame.
What is social impact of research?
Research plays an important role when it comes to solving complex social problems, producing knowledge for policymaking, and enhancing innovation. Social impact of research refers to the outcomes and benefits of research that are used outside the academic institutions. Broadly speaking, social impact of research includes the interactions, practices and tools that researchers have developed over time with other societal actors.
For example, in the field of education, researchers help policymakers, teachers, schools, pupils and their parents by producing relevant information that can be used in schools and homes. At its best, one can describe social impact of research as a dialogical relationship between the various actors in society. GraphoGame is an example of such dialogue and a ‘carrier’ of social impact. Its development shows how the results of research expand from local settings to a global scale.
Solving local and global literacy problems with GraphoGame
The research behind GraphoGame started in the 1980s in Jyväskylä, Finland, where researchers at the University of Jyväskylä studied learning difficulties and collaborated closely with schools and children with learning difficulties. Over time, the combination of academic and practical work led to the development of learning materials, diagnostic methods, and training tools to be used by professionals and pupils in schools.
A turning point was the discovery of the letter-sound connection as a precursor of dyslexia. It was one of the findings of a longitudinal study and it helped researchers produce new understanding of dyslexia and reading processes. The finding brought together the explanation, prediction and prevention of dyslexia, which was crystallised in the development of GraphoGame. It soon became a motivating yet individual tool for children who were learning how to read.
In Finland, GraphoGame was distributed broadly, but researchers soon realised its potential in other languages. In collaboration with top universities around, GraphoGame has been researched in the following languages: UK English (University of Cambridge Centre for Neuroscience in Education), French (Aix-Marseille University), Dutch (University of Groningen), Portuguese (Politecnico do Porto), Spanish (Pontifical Catholic University of Chile), Chinese Pinyin (Beijing Normal University), Chinese Zhuyin (Academia Sinica), Norwegian (University of Stavanger), Swedish (Lund University), Cinyanja (University of Zambia), U.S English (Yale/Haskins laboretorie).
In any new language, GraphoGame is studied and developed with local researchers. This is paramount since each language and school system is unique. What started as a quest for understanding reading processes and dyslexia in the Finnish context, evolved into a global effort to tackle illiteracy.
Expanding social impact of research with GraphoGame
The example of GraphoGame shows how the different dimensions of social impact come together. First, it was the research findings that helped researchers to understand dyslexia. Second, to make use of that understanding led to the development of a training tool for children. Finally, global collaboration made the dissemination possible, expanding the use of GraphoGame.
It’s easy to see that today’s social problems, such as learning difficulties are complex and link many areas of life together. Learning difficulties, such as dyslexia, are connected to school systems, access to learning materials and individual support. Overcoming difficulties in learning plays an important role in the individual’s life as schools prepare them for working life. Being able to read and write is a basic need, a necessity for future success. In the end, problems related to illiteracy become questions of inclusion, democracy and empowerment. The solutions may require time to materialise but with the help of research, it is easier to understand the phenomena behind the problems and tackle them early on.
Check out GraphoGame today for more information on how this evidence-based literacy game is helping kindergarten and primary school children around the world to learn to read and spell in an engaging, simple and fun way.
Photo Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/vbxyFxlgpjM
Terhi Esko (M.Soc.Sci) is a researcher focusing on science, technology and innovation studies. Terhi Esko studied the development of GraphoGame in her doctoral dissertation. Currently she works at Tampere University studying the emergence of health tech and life science firms in Finland. Her doctoral dissertation ‘Societal Problem Solving and University Research. Science-Society Interaction and Social Impact in the Educational and Social Sciences’ will be publicly examined on May 15 2020 at the University of Helsinki at 13 o’clock (live streaming at http://video.helsinki.fi/unitube/live-stream.html?room=l6)
There are approximately 650 million children throughout the world who are primary school-age, and 250 million of them are unable to read or write.
Over the years, experts have debated on the best way to teach literacy that will raise achievement levels and give children the tools and confidence needed to cope and be successful in school and beyond.
Read on for more information about some of the different approaches to teaching literacy. You’ll learn about the advantages and disadvantages of these methods so you can choose one that works best for you and the kids you’re teaching.
For years, one of the most popular teaching literacy strategies was the Alphabetic Method. In fact, it’s been around since ancient Greek and Roman times.
This approach to literacy education involves teaching children each letter of the alphabet in order (both its name and its pronunciation). Using this method, children also learn to write each letter at the same time.
At the same time that they’re learning each letter, children also learn simple vowel and consonant combinations. For example, m + a = ma. From two-letter syllables, they go on to learn longer syllables and then, eventually, full words and sentences.
Using the Alphabetic Method, reading starts off feeling very mechanical. It can take longer for children who learn in this way to become expressive readers. It can also take longer for them to start to truly comprehend what they’re reading.
Another traditional approach is the Syllabic Method. This involves teaching children the vowels (A, E, I, O, and U) first. From here, they learn the consonants, beginning with those that are easiest for them to pronounce. This is sometimes referred to as building the syllabic bridge.
After learning the consonants, children will blend vowels and consonants to create syllables (ma, me, mi, mo, mu, etc.). Once they’ve mastered this, they’ll move on to learning more complex syllables, then words, phrases, and, eventually, sentences.
As with the Alphabetic Method, when teaching children using the Syllabic Method, reading can start out sounding very methodical. It can take quite a while before children start to read more expressively and comprehend what they’re reading.
The Phonetic Method is one of the most popular and effective methods of teaching literacy. It’s encouraged more often than other approaches.
In this style of teaching, children first learn each vowel based on their sounds. Teachers will often use figures and images that start with each letter to help children remember them, and children also learn to write vowels at the same time.
After teaching vowels, instructors will teach consonants with their sounds, using images and objects for better retention. After this, children go on to learn how to blend the sounds of consonants with the sounds of the five vowels to form simple syllables.
Once children have learned simple syllables, they should be able to learn simple words and phrases. After this, more complex concepts are taught, including inverse syllables, mixed and complex syllables, diphthongs, and triphthongs. They can then combine all of these into more complicated words and phrases.
The Phonetic Approach, which is used in many interactive literacy games, does a great job of fostering confidence. GraphoGame uses an enhanced phonetic approach called Synthetic Phonics. GraphoGame’s English version is based on research on reading by “rhyme analogy”, carried out in the 1980s and 1990s by Professor Usha Goswami. The rhyme analogy research highlighted the importance of oral awareness of linguistic “onset-rime” units in reading development. To segment a word into onset-rime units, divide at the vowel (“s-ing”, “st-ing”, “spr-ing”). Developed at the Centre for Neuroscience in Education, University of Cambridge, the English GraphoGame focuses on rime patterns, teaching individual letter-sound correspondences within rhyming families of words.
Get Help Teaching Literacy Today
As you can see, there are lots of different ways that you can go about teaching literacy to children. Do you need help figuring out an approach that works well for your child (or the children you teach)? If so, consider giving GraphoGame a try today.
GraphoGame is a fun and evidence-based children’s literacy app. It uses Finnish methods of literacy teaching to help young children gain the skills they need to establish a solid foundation and become competent readers. It also tracks children’s progress and alerts parents or teachers so they can become aware of and work to correct potential issues right away.
Check out GraphoGame today to see how it works for your children!
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash
Co-founder & Head of Partnerships at GraphoGame
Throughout the world, more than 250 million children are illiterate or struggling to read. Even though a lot of these children are in school, they’re having a hard time keeping up and are failing to acquire basic literacy skills.
The World Bank calls this issue “learning poverty,” and UNESCO has referred to it as a “global learning crisis.” UNESCO also reports that it’s costing hundreds of billions of pounds per year.
By placing a greater emphasis on early grade literacy, we can work to solve this crisis and give more children the tools they need to succeed. Read on to learn more about the importance of early grade literacy and why it’s essential that we invest in it.
What Caused the Global Learning Crisis?
The global learning crisis is a multifaceted problem. There are many reasons why kids throughout the world are struggling to read and write, but lack of resources and access to learning opportunities are some of the contributors.
Educational resources are unevenly distributed around the world. In some countries, children enjoy full access to quality education and resources that support learning. In others, access to learning resources and educational opportunities is limited. In the latter, many children lack access to quality books and reading materials not only at home but also in school. This is especially true for the approximately one-third of children who live in poverty worldwide.
How Can Investing in Early Grade Literacy Help?
The earlier kids start working on their reading skills, the better off they’ll be. Investments in early grade literacy provide numerous benefits to children, parents, and educators all over the world. The following are some of the most noteworthy benefits:
Reduced Spending: According to the World Bank, children’s reading programs are very cost-effective, especially in developing nations. When they’re implemented correctly, they can also lead to significant reductions in spending.
Optimal Learning Times: When children are young, their brains are primed for optimal literacy. It’s much easier to teach reading and language skills among young children than it is to teach them when they get older.
Better Outcomes: Focusing on early grade literacy leads to better learning outcomes, too. When children have an opportunity to learn to read early on, they also tend to perform better as older students. They have better general knowledge, better attention spans, and improved concentrations.
Ways to Invest in Early Grade Literacy
Investments in early grade literacy are crucial to children’s long-term success. Where should we focus our attention and funding, though? Listed below are some of the greatest investments we can and should be making:
Early Childhood Education Programs: Investment in early childhood programs can lead to much better literacy outcomes. It helps to establish a strong foundation and sets children up for success later.
Evidence-Based Literacy Games: The use of evidence-based literacy games can make learning more fun for young children. When they have a chance to learn in an interactive way, they’re more likely to retain information and develop the literacy skills they need most.
Start Investing Today
As you can see, early grade literacy is too important to ignore. One of the best investments that we can make in improving children’s literacy, which has the potential to yield significant returns, is the implementation of evidence-based learning games like GraphoGame.
GraphoGame is an app that uses Finnish methods of literacy teaching. It allows kids to play at home or at school while having their progress tracked so parents and teachers can become aware of potential problems or bottlenecks.
If your child struggles with reading or if you just want to give them a leg up, GraphoGame makes a great addition to their learning efforts. Check it out today!
Picture source: https://unsplash.com/photos/cwGk-u9PHOo
GraphoGame Norsk was part of the ”On Track” -research project funded by the Norwegian Research Council (FINNUT) aiming to promote research and innovation in education between 2014 and 2018. 1200 children from 17 Norwegian schools participated in the study. After the study GraphoGame Norsk was released as a free app within Norway on Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
As part of the agreement the Reading Centre shall continue research in the field of serious gaming in literacy, while the commercialization arm of University of Stavanger, Validé will work with the GraphoGame company to establish a local presence in Norway to maximise the educational value of the application to Norwegian students, teachers and parents.
The first month of the new year is coming to a close, which means one of the first and foremost events in the annual education technology calendar is upon us: Bett Show is kicking off tomorrow at ExCeL exhibition centre in East London!
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year
What did we get up to in 2018?
English GraphoGame now available
for Windows 10 on Microsoft Education Store.
We are proud to announce that our blog has officially launched!
The 'GraphoBlog' (as we are now calling it) will be one of the major channels of communication with our users, stakeholders and peers in the field of early grade literacy and dyslexia. Our vision is that this space will become a vibrant space for thoughtful discussion and debate around the hot topics surrounding education technology, gameified learning and early literacy research.
What will we be posting about, you might ask?
What will we be posting about, you might ask?
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