Regular readers of this blog know that I’ve been spent most of this year developing a free reading tutorial.  We were calling it WatchKnow Reader, but now it’s called Reading Bear. I need you to help to finish it (see below to volunteer!).

First let me show you a demo. It’s unfinished and undesigned, but still cool.  To check it out, I recommend these steps:

1. Go to the above-linked page.  Click on “Short A” in the middle of the page.

2. Choose “Sound It Out Slowly” (to begin with).  Play with the green buttons.  When you get to the sentence slides, click a word.  It should be sounded out.

3. After you’ve seen one or two dozen slides, click the settings button (upper right, with the gear) and check “Always show video of word spoken” and “Enable interludes” (and save).  Note that you can also uncheck “Pause and ask me to say the words” (which is what you’d want to do if showing this to a child too young to supply answers).  Then watch another five words’ worth or more.

4. Exit the presentation (press the lower right “on/off” button) and try the other presentation types, including “Sound It Out Quickly,” “Let Me Sound it Out,” and a flashcard-only and sentence-only version.

Please bear in mind that this doesn’t have all the features it will have in a few months.  So you really can’t judge Reading Bear yet.  It doesn’t have all the presentations (there will be almost 50 total), reviews, quizzes, progress tracking, and help features that it will have.

Feedback on this blog, though, would be greatly appreciated.

Want to volunteer to help finish this free, non-profit, educational project?

I am facing an extremely ambitious deadline and need your help.  I’ve involved some volunteers earlier this year, but that didn’t work out very well because I tried to manage that all out of my email, and I thought I could write all the scripts myself.  It ended up being too much work for me to manage by myself.  Now I’m finally to the point where I can and should involve volunteers again, and this time around I’m giving people access to some Live.com-hosted documents, which we’ll use as a sort of wiki to manage content development.

Basically, I need help (1) drafting sentences, (2) finding videos and pictures, (3) doing quality control for the video and picture choices, and (4) editing some text-audio file matchup stuff. It’s not very simple (not as simple, for example, as writing a Wikipedia article), but if you’re reasonably technically adept, you should be able to do it.

Interested?  Email me at sanger@watchknow.org.  If you’ve already expressed an interest, I should have already emailed you. I’ll give you info about where to find the development files.

Here’s a series of help videos I made for Reading Bear volunteers (watch at full screen and highest quality):