A Breakthrough in Building Literacy
Not knowing the meanings of key small words is a major barrier to learning to read with understanding.
Up to fifty percent of any English sentence consists of what we call small common words. Words like “and,” “at,” “in,” “to,” and many more form the foundations of most English sentences. If one were to remove only five of these words from one’s vocabulary one would find it difficult to put together most proper sentences.
The Ollie the Elephant — Learning Made Easy series is designed to create understanding and literacy.
One of these “simple” words, such as the word “to,” has thirty distinctly different meanings and uses. Similarly, other small words have many different meanings. Correct knowledge of these words helps form a foundation of literacy and understanding in the English language.
This factor goes entirely overlooked in most schools and English grammar courses. Confusion about these small words can lead to a child or adult being labeled as “illiterate” and failing in other studies. Let’s face it: if you can not easily understand what you are reading, learning becomes difficult.
The secret lies in the illustrations. Every single one of the illustrations is designed to convey a specific meaning.
To demonstrate this, let’s look at bigger words like “airport” and “airplane.” These two words are easy to teach and learn. They each have one basic meaning. There is nothing difficult about this. But now let’s look at a small word, for example, “to.” This small word has roughly thirty different meanings! And, depending on how you use the word in a sentence, the definition can change completely. Not knowing the meanings of key small words is a major barrier to learning to read with understanding.
As this primary step of literacy has been almost completely overlooked in education and schools, one should not be surprised that many children and adults dislike or have difficulty in reading.
Ollie the Elephant — Learning Made Easy was specifically designed to convey the meanings of these small fundamental words, using pictures. These books are not story books. They are books that teach the proper use of the key common words of the English language. Adults are often shocked that even they learn new things from Ollie the Elephant — Learning Made Easy. The series is designed to give a university-level understanding of key English words to first grade students. The secret lies in the illustrations. Every single one of the illustrations is designed to convey a specific meaning. This method enables a child to learn complex English, in a simple manner, rapidly.
How Ollie the Elephant Books Create Literacy
The Ollie the Elephant — Learning Made Easy series is laid out in an exact sequence.
It is a compilation of many smaller booklets. Each booklet contains one definition of a small key word. There are, for example, four booklets for the word “at.” Each covers a different meanings of the word “at.” There are three booklets for the word “and,” to cover each of the meanings of “and,” and so on. At the end of each booklet one finds a set of exercises the student can do, to ensure that understanding is achieved.
How to Use Ollie the Elephant – Learning Made Easy
The booklets can be studied alone, but they are best studied with a partner who functions as a tutor. Depending on the setting, the coach can be any of the following:
- a parent
- a tutor, teacher, or instructor
- another student
The entire purpose of this Ollie the Elephant series is to create understanding in the mind of the student. It is not a reading test. The following system is used:
- The student or child reads the first page, containing the definition of the word, out loud.
- The parent or tutor now checks for understanding by having the student explain what the word means. (Note: this can be explained in the student’s native language.)
- The student now reads the first example sentence and looks at the picture.
- The student looks at how the small word has been used to form the example sentence.
- The parent or tutor now checks for understanding by having the student explain what that sentence means.
- If the student gives a wrong explanation, the parent or tutor checks which word in the sentence was wrongly understood and corrects this. (All words in the example sentences are illustrated in the accompanying pictures, so one can usually just point at the appropriate part of the picture to show the student or child the correct meaning.)
- After it is clear that the student has understands the example sentence, one continues on to the next page and repeats steps 3 to 6.
- After each of the twenty example sentences have been read and understood, the student continues on to the exercises.
- The student now makes at least ten example sentences of his or her own, using the word. More examples can be made if needed. One is trying to create understanding. Do not continue if the student is not comfortable with the word.
The above is the basic procedure to follow for each booklet and definition of the small and fundamental words of the English language.