Reading Bear, a project of WatchKnowLearn.org, is the first free program online to teach beginning readers (4-7 years old) vocabulary and concepts while systematically introducing all the main phonetic patterns of written English, all using innovative rich media. The project’s Editor-in-Chief is Larry Sanger, who conceived the project, designed the software, and did most of the work assembling the content so far. Sanger is an American philosopher best known as co-founder of Wikipedia.
How does it work? In each presentation—playable either as a video or as an interactive slide show—one or a few related “phonics rules.” are introduced. Presentations are available in seven different versions. In the fullest version, we sound out a word slowly and quickly, then blend it slowly, and finally (after an optional prompt) blend it quickly. As sounds are pronounced, the corresponding letters are highlighted. Then we display a picture illustrating the word, show a sentence (with the individual sounds again highlighted, karaoke style), and finally show a video illustrating the sentence.
Reading Bear is a non-profit project. It is free and ad-free.