“Zero” means that we do not assume prior exposure to English, or indeed, to any other language. “Zero to reading” means guiding a child from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.” There is a significant research literature on “Instructed Second Language Acquisition,” or more simply, how to teach languages. This literature tells us that the most important component in early literacy is vocabulary acquisition. Once a child knows 90-95% of the words in a typical piece of text she comes across, she can start inferring the meaning of the remaining 5-10%, and start making the transition to “reading to learn.”
Our immediate goal is to bring children to a solid first grade reading level. How are we going to accomplish this? See our next post on how we are structuring GLEN Learn, our app for guided learning.
The initial transition from zero to reading is the hardest part. Once we succeed in enabling this, there is no reason for us to stop—we plan to continue to build up literacy resources, and also to provide guidance on how to leverage the vast repository of existing online resources available to a child who has basic ability in reading.