We want to transform the way English reading and pronunciation are taught—in classrooms and at home—around the world.
Color Vowel® DUO is a revolutionary game that teaches the sounds of English language through play. It bridges the gap between the classroom and learning at home, and has proved to be wildly effective in building confidence for emerging readers, ESL students, international students, and anyone who loves to play with language.
We piloted the game with hand-picked school districts across the country. At Karen's children's Montessori school, the prototype was so popular that it was in tatters within a month. The teacher begged for a more durable deck. That's exactly why we are raising funds: to print DUO on durable, industry-standard cards, give it proper packaging, and to bring it to market.
What Your Contributions Do
We currently print Duo in small batches of 500 decks because it is what we can afford. The problem is, these small batches cost a lot to make. According to wholesale-resale formulae, we should be selling Duo for $40, which of course is an unmarketable price, so we sell it for half that and barely cover our costs. Meanwhile, given the popularity of Duo, we are caught in a perpetual print-and-send cycle, leaving us exhausted and underfunded to produce more Duo.
The solution is to print a big, professional run of 5,000 decks of Duo, and this is where you come in: With your help, we will be able to make DUO available to more people with more durable cards at a lower price. The money we receive through this Kickstarter campaign will go toward final design, printing, packaging, and legal fees (as we have applied for a patent related to the game).
How Did We Get Here?
ELTS is a tight-knit team of educational linguists with decades of experience in language learning and literacy. Karen Taylor, co-founder of English Language Training Solutions (ELTS) is a former Fulbright specialist with a focus on second-language pronunciation. Karen created the Color Vowel® Chart in 1999 along with co-author Shirley Thompson (a Fulbrighter and returned Peace Corps volunteer) to help international graduate students deliver their lectures comprehensibly.
The Color Vowel® Chart is a visual organizer for spoken English that replaces phonetic symbols with colors. Early adoption by the U.S. Department of State has propelled our work to international acclaim.
In 2014, ESL teacher Laura McIndoo designed a game using the Color Vowel Chart as its underlying architecture: Color Vowel® DUO. She piloted it with her own adult ESL students and was astounded by the response: Students insisted on buying their own sets to take home and play with their families.
With feedback from our pilot schools and an overwhelming demand for the game, we realized we've created something unprecedented: a fun, compelling language game that bridges schools and home learning for native and non-native speakers of English.
Other Ways You Can Help
If you're reading this, chances are that you're an educator of some kind-- someone in the trenches of language/reading instruction. You are probably not a millionaire (though if you are, please don't stop reading!).
Notice that we have created some high-end giving options; these are designed for the donors and philanthropists who support YOUR school system, public library, adult education program, community organization, or children's museum. If you know these special angels in your community, tell them about DUO. Otherwise, share our campaign with your organization's fundraising office, and share widely through social media, email, and by talking to your friends about it.
Parent feedback about Duo is equally enthusiastic. Via Bella, a mommy-blogger in Washington DC, had this to say after playing Duo with her kids for the first time:
Risks and challenges
We have already designed, piloted, and refined the game itself, so to complete this project, we just need to manufacture the cards and the tuckbox (packaging). We're working with a respected printer here in Santa Fe NM and will be monitoring production in person. While things can come up that delay a project, we will make every effort to ensure that the people who trusted us with their money will get what we promise on time. We update this project regularly and we will let backers know of any setbacks as they happen. We are committed to our supporters, our mission, and our product. Thank you for your support!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (32 days)