Our story at See Word Reading,the learn-to-read app for kids, began when our founder Renee Seward’s best friend’s son struggled to learn to read.
He kept mentioning that it was “the layouts” that made it difficult to read.
Alarmed by the staggering statistics that link failure to learn to read by third grade with negative outcomes, Renee sprang into action. She began designing a font, finding technology partners and studying the latest and greatest sensory methods for helping kids learn to read such as the Orton-Gillingham method.
She discovered that helping kids learn in new and engaging ways was a place where she could make a difference.
(NEW! Fast forward, See Word Reading was just launched into the Apple App Store today!)
Some literacy statistics according to Begin to Read:
With her expertise in Interaction Design and Graphic Design, plus her experience as an Associate Professor of Communications Design in the College of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning (DAAP), Renee knew that good design could help.
Creating See Word Reading
Renee created a concept that applied graphic design principles to the challenges of engaging kids in learning early reading skills.
As iPads were coming onto the market strongly, Renee designed the concept to be multi-sensory and to use the interactive touch screen capabilities the technology afforded.
The app received an early vote of confidence from winning a Cincinnati Innovates award. Ohio Third Frontier and University of Cincinnati Tech Accelerator (Now the Venture Lab at the 1819 Innovation Hub) support helped Renee develop the app and reach early milestones of testing in schools.
Renee also partnered with Beth O’Brien, Ph.D., a Senior Research Scientist at the National Institute Of Education, Singapore and Allison D. Breit-Smith, Ph.D., an Associate Professor of Literacy in the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services, in the School of Education at the University of Cincinnati to develop the app. The team’s work to design the app helped ensure that it met the needs of teachers.
Beth O’Brien brought extensive experience in researching interventions to support the development and testing of the See Word Reading platform. Her expertise in research design, text processing and developmental disorders, made her instrumental in designing the research methods used to support See Word Reading’s effectiveness.
Allison D. Breit-Smith brought a breadth and depth of literacy experiences and early childhood portfolio work to the See Word Reading team. She oversaw the fidelity of the work of the graduate students who collected the data for the See Word Reading research.
Also at this time, Ben Meyer, an Associate Professor of Communication Design at DAAP, brought extensive expertise in Interaction Design to the development of See Word Reading.
Helping Teachers Help More Students
Since the beginning, helping teachers has been a focus and over a hundred interviews of teachers have been conducted.
Around this time, Renee hired graduate students from speech pathology to run the initial testing in Cincinnati Public School After School programs. She also had the amazing opportunity to work with the Prime Minister of Singapore to refine the image-to-letter pairings so that they could communicate meaning on an international level.
“In this early period, I also hired multiple students undergraduate and graduate students to help with the design of the tool,” said Seward. “I would not be anywhere without Craig Vogel an associate dean at DAAP to create connections across campus. Rayma Waters, co-director of PASS inside the College of Education, was instrumental too. She was the first to believe in the product. She is the one who got See Word Reading App for Kids into the Cincinnati Public School After-school Program. Deb Kline at Mt. Washington school was the first principal who believed in it and said yes to testing in the schools. She also was our first buyer. Plus, Pam Williamson, former UC professor in special education, helped us write some of the first grants. Many thanks to Verzion Wireless Foundation the first foundation to financially support See Word Readings development. We are still deeply grateful to Verizon for that early support.”
Over time, we have seen proven results from the See Word Reading App for kids with numerous students in multiple systems.
We’ve learned a lot about helping kids learn to read, what makes them tick and most of all how to spread reading joy.
Improving Literacy and Reading Joy
Early results show improved spelling, phonological awareness, word identification, writing, spelling and fluency. Results of these tests were documented and shared in the studies shared on our See Word Reading results page.
More studies are in progress around Cincinnati and around the world.
Today, the See Word Reading App is a personalized, fun and effective platform to help build literacy skills in preschool through first grade students.
By applying design principles associated with building brand identity systems and partnering with educators, Renee created the engaging See Word Reading tool that helps early learning educators build strong reading skills.
We are proud an humbled to count among our partners the following:
- University of Cincinnati College of Education
- Princeton City Schools
- Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center
- YMCA Cincinnati, 21st Century Grant Fund
- National Institute of Education – Singapore
Teachers Love See Word Reading
We are hearing great reviews from parents and teachers alike. Here are some quotes:
“I liked that it helps them learn the correct letter formation. Other apps may let you trace the letter, but they just keep going. See Word Reading makes students trace correctly before moving on.”
Annie, Princeton Schools Kindergarten Teacher
“This is great for reinforcing what’s learned in the classroom.”
Karen, parenting-center aide
“It helps kids learn the correct letter formation. Other apps let you trace the letter but they just keep going. See Word Reading makes kids trace correctly before moving on. They learned to make the letters the right way.”
Carol, Mother of a Pre-K student
How the See Word Reading App Works
The perfect reading app for kids aged 3 to 6, each lesson of this “ABC app” takes one sound group through four levels of learning fun.
In level 1, kids start with tracing letters, saying the sounds and hearing their own voice shared back to them.
In level 2, readers build words using word families and the sounds they learned in the first level. This interactive practice reinforces what they just learned.
In level 3 of this reading app, your child will spell words with sound tiles.
In level 4, a story is read aloud to your student as the print is highlighted. The student is able to follow along with the words of the story. Your child is then prompted to interact with the story by finding the letters that correspond to a spoken phoneme or letter sound. This helps make learning to read a game of beat the clock.
Kids are motivated and encouraged by the character Billy who applauds their efforts with cheers them on with golden stars. See Word Reading App for Kids works.
Just 15 minutes a day has been proven to boost word identification, spelling and writing skills.
Press and Awards
Winner of the Cincinnati Innovates Award and an Excellence in Academics Award from the Ohio Board of Education for 21st Century After School Programs, the See Word Reading app is powered by a vote of confidence from the Ohio Third Frontier. See Word Reading is blessed with many good reviews from new fans and old.
“This is a high-quality way to spend productive one-on-one time with your kids as they enjoy learning.”
Kelly, Mother of 3 and English professor
Giving Back Sale
Proven results in just 15 minutes a day. Get the steps to learn to read made simple, easy and fun for busy families. For our early adopters sale, we will donate $2 for every verified purchase. Use the form below to share you school and download See Word Reading Home Edition today.