Eyewords™ was created by teacher and special education resource developer Jennifer Orr, in collaboration with children, a team of educators, speech and language pathologists, researchers and graphic designers in an effort to address a need to differentiate reading instruction for young learners. Eyewords™ was initially developed to complement existing phonemic awareness instruction in kindergarten classrooms by providing a multisensory approach to teaching the high frequency words, many of which cannot be decoded phonetically. In addition to boosting the overall effectiveness of kindergarten literacy programs, it was quickly discovered that Eyewords™ has a tremendous benefit to children who struggle to read through systematic phonics instruction alone. Our core belief is that learning to read can be a fun, easy and exciting process for all.
Research shows that pictures can increase the relevance of a sight word and children’s motivation to learn it, and they can also provide an extra cue that assists learners in determining the word’s meaning. Having visual, verbal and kinesthetic input when learning a sight word can also help learners form a stronger memory trace, deepening their association between the sight word and its meaning. Additionally, kinesthetic movement in the form of play increases student engagement and learning retention.
To bridge the gap between auditory short term memory and decoding, I worked with the natural inclination of young children towards visual and kinesthetic learning and focused on the memorization of high frequency words with the use of phonics, embedded pictures, context cues and meaningful actions.
– Jennifer Orr