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Readable English [SMART 100, 2015]

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This SMART 100 profile and the information it contains is a duplication of content submitted by the applicant during the entry process. As a function of entry, applicants were required to declare that all details are factually correct, do not infringe on another’s intellectual property and are not unlawful, threatening, defamatory, invasive of privacy, obscene, or otherwise objectionable. Some profiles have been edited for reasons of space and clarity.

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1. THE BEGINNING

This innovation initially came to life when…

We realised that learning to read should be intuitive and stress free, and based on something other than just rote activities that force a reader to learn and adapt to a series of irregularities that comprise the English language.

That’s why we’ve developed Readable English, a system that embeds a pronunciation guide into each word and replaces hundreds of invariably inconsistent decoding rules and exceptions.

Learners are able to begin to read in a matter of weeks versus years, by accurately and independently sounding out written words and connecting them to meaning (even non-phonetic words like ‘yacht’, ‘knife’ and ‘thought’).

2. WHAT & HOW

The purpose of this innovation is to…

…help new and struggling readers learn to read. The complex spelling of English makes it a difficult language to learn to read, and RE solves this problem by making it consistent, predictable and simple to learn.

It does this by…

…making written English phonetic, without changing the spelling of words.

Readable English embeds a pronunciation guide into each word by adding syllable breaks, greying out silent characters, and adding intuitive visual cues to letters to specify when a letter makes a sound other than its usual sound (e.g. the ‘c’ sound in ‘cell’, ‘cello’, or ‘ocean’ as opposed to in ‘cat’).

3. PURPOSE & BENEFITS

This innovation improves on what came before because…

it is the first approach to teaching reading that addresses the complex spelling of English rather than focusing on the problems of the reader.

It takes children learning English 2.5 years to reach the same level of basic literacy that children learning other languages can reach in a year. Much of this time is spent simply memorising/rote-learning non-phonetic words.

Its various benefits to the customer/end-user include…

…reducing the time it takes to learn to read. This means that students can start reading to learn from a significantly earlier age. Other benefits include: immediate results; flexible and accessible; cheaper and less intensive than alternatives such as tutoring.

4. COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE

In the past, this problem was solved by…

…changing the spelling of words (dictionary pronunciation guides) or introducing new characters to represent sounds (e.g. International Phonetic Alphabet).

Keeping the spelling intact is important for developing sight recognition of words, and for visibly conveying the meaning of words through their spelling patterns (e.g. removing the silent ‘g’ in ‘sign’ would remove the connection to related words ‘signal’ and ‘signature’).

Its predecessors/competitors include…

…online and offline reading programs (e.g. reading eggs/ tutoring centres). These programs teach reading by focusing on skill building and memorisation tactics for rote learning the 50 per cent of words in English that are not phonetic.

5. TARGET MARKET

It is made for…

…children learning to read or struggling with reading. The first phase of the project is positioned in Australia.

The market sizes are as follows:

  • Number of children under 15 years of age = 4.37 million
  • Market of 6 & 7 year olds (learning to read) = 582,666 students
  • Market of struggling readers = 1,092,500

In the US market, there are 35,301,000 primary school students. With 27 per cent reported as ‘struggling’, even a 1 per cent penetration into the struggling reader/tutoring market in the US (87,000 students), at $50 per student per week leads to a total annual market potential of well over $200 million.

It is available for sale through…

…the website au.readablenglish.com and in apps.

We also intend to distribute Readable English through teachers and schools; tutoring centres; literacy programs in libraries and not for profits (e.g. Mission Australia and the Pajama Foundation); improving literacy programs in corporations.

Our marketing strategy is to…

…utilise various channels to market:

  • Online advertising (Google Adwords)
  • Social media engagement/advertising
  • Public and media relations
  • SEO activity including blogging and link backs
  • Email marketing
  • Conferences and events
  • Direct selling – particularly for schools and corporates
  • Traditional advertising as required
  • Pilot and trial programs
  • Licensing and distribution partnerships

FINE PRINT: This SMART 100 profile and the information it contains is a duplication of content submitted by the applicant during the entry process. As a function of entry, applicants were required to declare that all details are factually correct, do not infringe on another’s intellectual property and are not unlawful, threatening, defamatory, invasive of privacy, obscene, or otherwise objectionable. Some profiles have been edited for reasons of space and clarity.

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