The discovery strategies behind TORTOISE TEACHES RABBIT TO READ
(TTRR) builds on curiosity, observation, counting and the resulting focus that naturally occurs. This is in stark contrast to redundant cycles of drill-and-practice. As children focus to discover auditory and visual patterns and to analyze those patterns, they apply very basic math (set theory and ordinal concepts) to words.

In this way, children naturally develop their visual and auditory registers. We hypothesize that focusing is key to developing these registers or sequential arrays and they are the neurological basis for seeing numbers and letters in a string.

To read, the brain must develop several remarkable capacities. First comes the ability to focus on hearing words as one or more sounds. Next, we must see geometric shapes, discriminate among shapes or individual letters, and then master grouping of letters into a sequence to build a word. To accomplish this the ear-eye-brain system must build what we might think of as auditory and visual registers or arrays for pattern displays.

Children learning math need to build up a right to left register in the brain that enables placement of numerals in the ones, tens, hundreds, or thousands columns. Likewise in learning to read, we need to develop a left to right register, or set of columns, for the first, second, third, and all following letters. Of course, syllables help us to group letters in multi-syllable words in much the same way that the tens', hundreds', thousands groupings enable us to organize elements of numbers.

The question we previously failed to ask in teaching reading is how to most efficiently and explicitly help youngsters = build these registers so they can most effectively perceive auditory and visual textual information.

In TTRR we present a very attractive and motivating approach to focus children, so they pay attention to text and how it works; thus, they naturally build their registers for words and then for written phrases and sentences. First, the children see Rabbit discover that his name, Rabbit, has more than one sound and that the many sounds in his name can be represented by geometric shapes, letters, drawn on the ground in a linear way. Rabbit begins by seeing these as footprints that sounds leave behind.

Following the story, the child sees the importance of the order of letters when Tortoise helps Rabbit to study Rabbit's name, at first represented by just three letters R-B-T. Later, as more letters are added, Rabbit discovers more sounds--R-A-BB-I-T. In this auditory approach to written text, we apply the STEM pedagogy that supports invented spelling.

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