Reading - Dhaka

I worked with a group of children in Dhaka who were learning English for the first time. They learnt the Amazing Alphabet and Fabulous Phonics as a synesthetic system, playing games with pictures and gestures. They continued to gesture when they began working at a word level, sounding out words and blending them when reading. As they became more confident readers they stopped gesturing unless they got stuck, and then they would revert back to the technique of using gesture to support them. Videos of the children 1-1 reading show this transition.

Early Blending

This child is using large gestures as he sounds out each letter. He is just beginning to blend sounds into words with support.


This child is able to blend words without much adult support. He still uses each gesture as he sounds out the word.

Early Reading

This child is using gestures when she needs them, but not for easier and more familiar words. Her gestures are smaller and more integrated.


This child is responding to the teacher’s gesture based prompts but rarely needs to use gesture herself.