FUN-ETICS™ creates a solid reading foundation through the use of completely phonetic and richly entertaining poems.

FUN-ETICS™ is a phonics-based reading system that radically simplifies the process of learning to read in English, and that focuses on giving students a uniquely engaging and successful reading experience.

It is based on 2 books: FUN-ETICS™: Brilliant Animals and FUN-ETICS™: Exceptional Animals.

The first, FUN-ETICS: Brilliant Animals also has a companion web app that provides each poem in audio form with easy to understand definitions and example sentences of each word, along with rhyming words. This creates a purely phonetic dictionary. This system gives learners a broad reading foundation. It does this by doing two things simultaneously: Eliminating all of the words in the English language that don’t follow the basic rules of phonics, using only those words that, when “sounded out” unmistakably reveal how the word sounds. Presenting every single word in a series of delightfully engaging poems that all have the same irresistible four-line formula. The impact of these two elements working together is the proverbial secret sauce. Students are delighted by the playful sophistication of the verses, and they love the fact that they can read every single word of every single poem.

FUN-ETICS™: Brilliant Animals

A “Fun-Etic” is a poetic structure within the reading and learning system of FUN-ETICS.

Like a Japanese Haiku, a Fun-Etic has a rigidly defined form.

A fun-etic possesses these seven elements:

  1. Every word has to be made up of letters that have only one distinct sound. Upon sounding out each individual letter in a word and blending those sounds together, the reader is able to articulate immediately recognizable words.
  2. All 5 vowels make only the short vowel sounds (as in cat, hen, pig, dog and duck).
  3. C and K make the same sound (as in cat and kitten).
  4. G is always hard (as in gecko).
  5. All the other letters have to make the common consonant sounds of Standard North American English. (B as in bat, D as in dog, F as in frog, etc.)
  6. All words are organized into the form of a four-line verse (a quatrain) that consists of two consecutive rhyming couplets.
  7. Each line must have seven syllables.
FUN-ETICS koala poem
FUN-ETICS orca poem
FUN-ETICS jaguar poem
FUN-ETICS otter poem

New readers and second language learners achieve immediate success because they are only exposed to completely phonetic words. Throughout the early foundation-building stage every letter in the alphabet is given one distinct sound that is always pronounced in the same way, which allows the reader to simply sound out each letter to form instantly recognizable words.

Once the learner develops a mastery of completely phonetic words, then spelling and pronunciation “exceptions to the rules” are introduced in a manageable and engaging step-by-step sequence until learners are ready to read anything they choose.

Once students have reached a level of mastery using only strictly phonetic words, then they have the competency and enthusiasm to deal confidently with “the exceptions” in the companion book FUN-ETICS: Exceptional Animals.

The exceptions are introduced one-by-one, and are highlighted with bright colors. Examples of “exceptions” are “ph” makes the “fuh” sound, “ch” makes the “chuh” sound, etc. Importantly, apart from “the exception” being taught in any given poem all of the other words continue to be phonetic so that readers can focus special attention on the exception in question.

Finally, I think it’s also important to stress how essential the poetic structure is to system. Key to making this idea possible was recognizing the need to create a structure that was small enough to avoid requiring the use of any non-phonetic words, and big enough to support meaning, interest and humor. It had to be short and sweet, engaging and rewarding!