Read with Dot – About


This began as a project in Taiwan. I had so many people asking for English lessons that I wouldn’t have had time for anything else. So, I started this, using Taiwan as my laboratory, with the hope that I could create a concise teaching tool that would empower anyone to learn, with the help of any eleven year old native English speaker.

Initially, it began as a small project, but kept snowballing to a point of being semi-comprehensive. Eventually, it only made sense to write a print edition.

PinkWrite was first intended as a CMS (Content Management System) project. I wanted a language-learning aspect of PinkWrite to help to legitimize the writing CMS as a competent language authority. Too many web & software tools are written for writers by people who only have semi-savvy writing knowledge. The same could be said for other industries with software and online platforms. Once the two needs overlapped, for PinkWrite to teach English and for Taiwanese to learn English, this series took form.

When I first released this series in print, a pre-beta version of the PinkWrite CMS was available through the website. That text editor only counted words and saved a file—that’s it. I had written that software to that point to standardize my word counts for the recent book, Watch Stand Pray 365. That made, PinkWrite a bona fide language resource, for writing and teaching.

All material in this series is available online, downloadable in various formats, and in print. The printed books are drop-proof, semi-water and -vomit proof, less expensive to replace if broken, better for young eyes to read, and has space for making notes. This is intended to empower a teacher working with a student. This will not work for a student trying to study alone. This is a collected reading series, beginning with phonics, followed by small stories with helpful, progressive, snowballing patterns for grammar and vocabulary. The main character is named Dot.

This is not intended to be a complete or comprehensive reading curriculum. Instead, it is a complete fast track, teaching core concepts, emphasizing essential content, and delivering through quality rather than quantity. A student who reads these stories multiple times and reviews the phonics charts while doing so can develop a deep understanding of the core components of English, allowing supplemental readings to be more self-instructive.


Teaching Instructions

Basic instructions for use: Read, have the student read, drill, pop drill, and remember the value of repeating repetitive repetition. Nothing good comes without practice.

Symbols from the International Phonetic Alphabet appear in some places. Don’t let this intimidate the teacher or the student. If you don’t read IPA, that’s fine. But, some familiarity with the IPA will prove useful and the places they appear in this series will help anyone get to know them.

This is not intended to be a complete curriculum for phonics, only a core booster for beginners, whether native speakers or ESL students of any age, and perhaps dyslexics. At some point, in future editions, some words or sections may be added if formal school curricula so needs.

This series is meant as an in-the-bag companion for other tools available at the PinkWrite website.

The first set of Vowel Words, having long and short vowels, has all “real” words, though they may not all be common. These words were selected to help familiarize the student with how long and short vowels combine with different consonants, adding other related vowel sounds from time to time. A supplemental writing sheet can be downloaded and printed from called “24-line phonics writing sheet”. The words on that sheet are not exactly the same as the words in the Vowel Words section of this Starting Phonics; this is on purpose. The words on that sheet should help a student expand vocabulary and phonics skills while practice writing, reading, hearing, and pronouncing each word. That writing sheet is only intended to be used after the student has been writing the basic alphabet. The sheet should be used as a kind of pop-drill with correction and speaking while writing, first in the starting consonant word groups, later as a whole sheet. This implements all three learning styles at once: kinetic, audio, and visual. Further information is available on the website.

The website includes a first and second grade handwriting curriculum, from print to cursive, along with other teachings about writing and font styles. This “24-line phonics writing sheet” is part of that handwriting curriculum.

The website also includes the 88-Hanon Typing App, a simple .html page that can be saved as an offline website. This includes a list of words with common letter combinations for typing speed practice, a keyboard finger chart, and a cheat-proof, no-paste, no-cut, no-drag, but copy-able typing box for teachers to use with students. It also includes alternate pages, one for teachers to use a custom typing list and another for a large body of text where the cheat-proof box is resizable.

Both the writing and typing tools at are intended to be used by the student when starting this series as early as five years old for writing and typing on a smaller keyboard, three if only previewing this series with help.

Any student who can read the long and short Vowel Words should also have been prepared to write and type those words. All the needed teaching tools are on the website. Reviewing the Starting Phonics for 30 minutes, four days a week should prepare a student for the rest of the series in as little as two months.

After the Vowel Words comes More Words, also with important sounds to learn for a good phonics foundation. Then, Combination Sounds help practice the concept that English words are build like a plumber puts together pieces of pipe. This also contains “difficult” sounds for practice. It’s contrasting-repetition is an effective technique teaching method.

Later, Other Rules covers most of the sounds a student needs to know to be able to begin reading. This section is not for drilling a student on the pronunciation of each word, only the sound of each short list. The words in these short lists should be read by the teacher each time they are reviewed. Other Rules should be reviewed four days a week for about two weeks or more. It’s fine if the student has only a small understanding of this section.

Toward the end are some long lists of words with “th” sounds and other words with odd spellings, given their pronunciation. These can be previewed quickly for early beginners, but revisited from time to time and as needed, while the student progresses in the series.

How the Whale Got His Throat

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Rudyard Kipling

With English notes by Jesse Steele

In the sea, once upon a time, O my Best Beloved, there was a Whale, and he ate fishes. He ate the starfish and the garfish, and the crab and the dab, and the plaice and the dace, and the skate and his mate, and the mackereel and the pickereel, and the really truly twirly-whirly eel. All the fishes he could find in all the sea he ate with his mouth—so! Till at last there was only one small fish left in all the sea, and he was a small ‘Stute Fish (quite astute indeed), and he swam a little behind the Whale’s right ear, so as to be out of harm’s way. Then the Whale stood up on his tail and said, “I’m hungry.” And the small ‘Stute Fish said in a small ‘stute voice, “Noble and generous Cetacean, have you ever tasted Man?”

“No,” said the Whale. “What is it like?”

“Nice,” said the small ‘Stute Fish. “Nice but nubbly.”

“Then fetch me some,” said the Whale, and he made the sea froth up with his tail. Continue reading “How the Whale Got His Throat”

How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin

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Rudyard Kipling

With English notes by Jesse Steele

Once upon a time, on an uninhabited island on the shores of the Red Sea, there lived a Parsee (having a very mystical sentiency) from whose hat the rays of the sun were reflected in more-than-oriental splendour. And the Parsee lived by the Red Sea with nothing but his hat and his knife and a cooking-stove of the kind that you must particularly never touch. And one day he took flour and water and currants and plums and sugar and things, and made himself one cake which was two feet across and three feet thick. It was indeed a Superior Comestible (that’s magic), and he put it on the stove because he was allowed to cook on that stove, and he baked it and he baked it till it was all done brown and smelt most sentimental. But just as he was going to eat it there came down to the beach from the Altogether Uninhabited Interior one Rhinoceros with a horn on his nose, two piggy eyes, and few manners. In those days the Rhinoceros’s skin fitted him quite tight. There were no wrinkles in it anywhere. He looked exactly like a Noah’s Ark Rhinoceros, but of course much bigger. All the same, he had no manners then, and he has no manners now, and he never will have any manners. He said, “How!” and the Parsee left that cake and climbed to the top of a palm tree with nothing on but his hat, from which the rays of the sun were always reflected in more-than-oriental splendour. And the Rhinoceros upset the oil-stove with his nose, and the cake rolled on the sand, and he spiked that cake on the horn of his nose, and he ate it, and he went away, waving his tail, to the desolate and Exclusively Uninhabited Interior which abuts on the islands of Mazanderan, Socotra, and the Promontories of the Larger Equinox. Then the Parsee came down from his palm-tree and put the stove on its legs and recited the following Sloka, which, as you have not heard, I will now proceed to relate:— Continue reading “How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin”