Can we help children learn to read?

Yesterday I got reminded by news, that in world there are large areas people without able to read.

What do you think, could animation be used as a tool for this? Just think: flying letters attacking you, making silly noises: A, I, E, O, …, at the other side of road consonants, T, N, S, R, L,… trying to respond… Or something? Just to make it more effective, because learning is expensive?

That is so shocking! I think though instead of teaching children to read, we need to have teach the teachers to teach the children. Unfortunately, this will take generations. But the good news is this: there is a ready market for that niche for anyone to get into that field.

Well I don’t know if computer animation can help people that live in areas without computers. Many of those red areas contain large populations that do not even have enough food to survive, so reading is likely low on the priority list. Maybe if we could find a way to feed all the starving people in the world, then we would be more time to figure out how to teach them.

I am glad that there is interest in this subject. Education is not as high an immediate priority as having food for masses. However, as my ethnic origin falls in one of the highlighted areas of concern, I will no doubt always be supporting any cause that will benefit not just the starving, but people all over the world. In the long term, a program of sustaining is a key and education is a tool.
Dicomymatt has a good point - what will computers and animation do ? Kaptain Planet George Clooney animated series . . . ? No, but the seed has been planted.

I just recalled something I saw in the WIP section a few days ago, is a member using Blender to illustrate a book for his children. I suppose we as artists could help by developing engaging illustrations that could be offered as CC works for teachers to use in education. We would of course need an educator that is familiar with the language to be taught to guide us on what illustrations to produce.
A project like this could be a fun and helpful thing for the blender community. However it would need a very committed person to head it up. Even then, you are left with the fact that the teachers would need the resources to actual print the books or you would need to find an aid agency that would print and distribute them.

One thing you should remember, showing animations is not that terrible expensive. Moving a film projector from town to town, giving cheap portable televisions, or something like that, not to forget the $100 laptop computer project.

But the thing I was primary thinking: How fast and effective can we teach children learn? If you think computer animation, it has not been used very widely teaching alphabet. It could be very effective way, if we just use our skills for that. And I think, if someone in the world, we can do it, can’t we??

I was thinking something like this: Make the common letters to characters, like, if someone remembers the joke telling match-character, with funny legs and hands? Same way give letter ‘A’ his foots and legs and hands… And speech synthesis is allready available, to give our ‘A’ a noisy ‘AAAAA’, and his children small-‘a’, not so noisy ‘aaaaa—a’.

EDIT: Here is the matchstick animation:

Something I saw flipping channels once (on KPBS as I recall), there was an animated kids’ show. One of the ways they helped teach kids to read was have the words look like the object. Case in point: the word “shark”. The letter “A” stuck up like a fin and the “K” made the tail shape. So the word “shark” looked like a shark…so it sounds like you are on the right track.

If you are thinking of spearheading something like this, try to get a teacher involved too. They would be a great source for inspiration and could probably draft up a pretty good lesson plan for you to convert to a script. I think there are at least a couple of teachers here at BA, and if not, my girlfriend is one, and would probably be happy to provide some insights.

This is a good idea…Keep it up!

Midge & Bimboo you mean …

Word World, is the show that has most of the characters and props made out of their names, it is a new show on PBS. PBS has several animated shows that teach reading. My son really likes Super Why. Super why has an interest mix of 3D and 2D cutouts, if you care to see it look here:

id say the same areas are also in deep poverty. i think food is the priority, personally…

You know what’s the population on earth?
We need to stop limiting ourselves by money (wee cant go farther away from theh moon cuz theh shipz way tho xpensivz), this world is already too small for us.

Animation can help teach children how to read. My sister way back than learnt her abc and numbers by watching sesame street. But when you look at a contient like africa solving such problems can be complex. In the cities tv programs will work and there is a large enough population that live in urban areas that could benifit from what you suggest. its the rural areas that are where you have to be truely creative to solve problems.

You just t have to be aware that not all countries in africa are the same. Namibia where I stay, one of the green countries on the south west tip of africa, is pretty advanced tech wise cell phone penetration is pretty good here we have 3G, ADSL etc lots of people have tvs. The problems here are more a lack of teachers, overcrowded classroom kids learning and been taught in english when its not there mother tongue. and lack of early childhood education.

That is not quite right. Some day last week i read about an investigation, that demonstrates how the food we are giving to developing countries gives negative results on the development of society and democratics. Instead increasing amount of literacy gives possibility to people to themselves develop the routines to get food, fresh water, sanity, and understand the problems what overpopulation causes. Literacy is the key to develop living conditions.

Here is one image for reference, which i found in the net:

Does anyone have a suggestion, which is the right font to get a bit same looking letters? And there was a tutorial for making the cartoony eyes somewhere, wasn’t there?

The Blender Default font would get you close to those characters. If you are serious about helping children in the Orange / Red zones on the map you posted, there is one other important thing to consider. Most of those countries do not use English as their main language. If you know French, there are several African nations that could beinfit. Note: I am not trying to be a downer. I applaud you wanting to help others and I just want to make sure you don’t run into any brick walls after you have done a bunch of work.

Hello there, I’ll pop this thread up again.

I made a 30 second entry for the “Google Project 10 to the 100th”. It can be found here:

The time was not quite sufficient to get the letters life, but I hope some organizition (if not Google) will have interest to get it a bit wider… I mentioned Blender Foundation as an candidate to get some money from Google to implement the idea.