Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Frederick: A Story About How To Learn Languages

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How do you help BILLIONS of people learn to read, spell and pronounce the English language

with ONE system?

Thats the question we asked ourselves when we decided to build Frederick, the worlds

first English language and literacy app that anyone, anywhere can learn with.

And the answer will definitely surprise you

To begin, why is another reading program necessary when there already are so many methods available?

Because, as youll see, all current programs have limitations that make learning to read

a slow, confusing and painful process

And because new challengeslike speakers of different languages all learning together

in the same classroomrequire a new solution.

Interestingly, the problems many beginning readers experience are the exact same frustrations

that many foreign language students also struggle with:

Lessons depend on teachers and memorization, not student-centered exploration

Confusing rules, explanations and translations make lessons forgettable, and fluency hard

to develop.

This comparison is so useful because when you learn to read you truly ARE learning a

foreign language.”

Almost everyone learns to speak their native language, but written characters are a new

language of symbols and rules that must be decoded the same way a French speaker might

learn German, Chinese or Portuguese.

An English-speaking child, for example, might know the word forbird,” but the written

word is a NEW language that must be learned.

Many educators have likely noticed this connection between teaching reading and teaching a foreign


But the real change in thinking required to make an effective reading system that ANYONE

can use only happens when you re-think the student.

Lessons in reading and foreign languages are created for humans by other humans.

And this causes teachers to make assumptions and decisions that can make learning much

MORE difficult.

For example, if you look at this picture and I say a word in a language you dont know,

will you likely understand what I mean? The word for this image isbluah.” But am

I talking about a person, an object, the scene generally, or some emotion? As the teacher,

I know. But without some kind of explanation, you likely will not.

These kinds of dangerous assumptions are incredibly common when teaching someone to read or learn

another language. And very quickly, they can cause someone to HATE what should really be

a very simple and fun process.

But, we can finally eliminate problems like this if we imagine our student is a creature

from outer space!

This one surprising idea transforms everything about the way wed teach readingand

foreign languages!

When we imagine a learner from another planet, we are forced to make lessons as clear and

understandable as we can because translations and explanations would be impossible.

So, how exactly would we teach an alien to read the English language? And what rules

would we have to follow to make the process understandable, and even fun?

Well, the system would have to be incredibly simple, intuitive and discoverable.

Fortunately, we dont have to leave the planet to find inspiration

Great video games have enabled players to learn the rules of systems for years without

any explanations, simply though great game design.

Many classic games have made their story, rules and goals obvious to players

But one of the best examples is found in the original Super Mario Brothers.

Level 1-1 opens with Mario on the far left of the screen facing to the right. This shows

the player that theres one direction he should be moving in. Experimentation with

the controller buttons quickly reveals how to make Mario move. The player also learns

to jump, step on enemies, get power-ups and complete the stage all through the level design


It succeeds as a memorable experience that trains and tests the player. But it doesnt

feel like a lesson.

And thats the key. This isntgamification,” where traditional, boring lessons are made

to feel more exciting with trophies and rewards. Marios level 1-1 is satisfying all by itself.

When games are too complicated, confusing, or just badly designed, the player must be

told what to do with prompts, dialogue boxes and information from other characters

Just like a student in a traditional classroom.

But in case you dont think this is possible in the REAL world, heres another example

Im a native English speaker who also speaks Japanese, and a few years ago, I was visiting

a friend of mine in Fukuoka, Japan. We decided to go to a popular Korean BBQ restaurant,

but I speak no Korean.

When I was left alone, because my friend had to take care of his son, I noticed a poster

of the actor Will Smith, and his son, Jaden, on a wall near our table. With that, the game

was on, and I challenged myself to see if I could learn some Korean.

The poster was for a movie that was out at the time called After Earth, so I had the

context figured out. I also guessed that since the actors share the same last name, I should

find two identical Korean translations ofSmithnear each other at the top of

the poster.

And thats exactly what happened!

The coolest part of the discovery was that the Korean characters for the nameSmith

appeared to be phonetic, as the first and last characters of the name were the same.

If you look at the translated name, the character I took to meansuis repeated twice.

Translating it back to English, we should get something likesu-mi-su.”

And checking a translation, that was correct.

The samesucharacter also appears in the title of the movie further down on the

poster: “After Earth.”

The poster was the lesson, and it enabled me to teach myself!

Had some Korean friend been with me, they might have given me some forgettable translation.

But because I discovered it for myself, the lesson has stayed with me to this day!

Now, if an alien could use this approach to learn a language from Earth, wouldnt it

be even EASIER for us to do the same thing? Of course!

So lets build a system that an alien could use to learn to read, speak and pronounce

the English language!

First, it would need to be icon-based.

You saw earlier how even a simple photo can be difficult to understand when you cant

use translations or explanations. So you have to keep things simple, the same way computer

programs use simple icons.

So, wed begin with a very simple combination of sound, symbol and icon. Weve got acat

icon, the spelling of the word and we can hear how it sounds.

cat cat cat

We also hear how each of the letters of the word sound individually, so we know what letters

make what sound part of the word.

c a t cat

But to make sure this is 100% clear, wed also need


This allows you to compare the differences between things.

cap can cam can cap cat cab bug bun bug bud

Just by testing different letters, we can discover how the rules of English words work,

all by ourselves. Isnt that cool? We also learn what letter combinations make actual

words, and which are just sounds.

ton tug bug bud

This is important because though a combination likerabis not a word, it prepares

us to understand other words like crab and rabbit.

Next, now that you know how to learn, you need a way to test yourself. This is where

games and challenges come in.

sit rap beg rap

tap tap

nap nap

We can even test MULTIPLE skills, the same way were tested in Mario, by checking our

reading comprehension.

a pot of men

We can hear how words blend together, improve listening, learn to understand grammar naturally,

gain confidence and develop fluency!

Youve just seen the stages of level 3 of Frederick. But there will be 35 levels in

the completed app, so players will be able to move step-by-simple-step from the alphabet

all the way to difficult words likeapocalypsewith lightning speed!

See how this isnt just theory? Real humans all over the world are using Frederick right

now to teach themselves to read, spell and pronounce English INSTANTLY.

It is a reading program, but its really so much more!

Its how an adult English learner can check their pronunciation before an important meeting.

And how an elementary school student in ANY country can quickly improve their spelling

and listening, anytime, all without a teacher! Its how students who speak different languages

in the same classroom can all learn equallyand be tested in the same waywith

ONE simple system!

To try it free and see why one early tester called Frederickthe best language learning

app on the planet,” click on the link in the upper right, or on the link in the description

below this video now.

Its been over 10 years from first idea to initial release, and were so excited

to hear about how YOU use Frederick.

So click on the link to learn more and well see you inside!

The Description of Frederick: A Story About How To Learn Languages