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In many countries where XOs are being deployed there are simply not enough literate people to teach literacy. Many areas will not have schools built during the lifetime of children, many areas with schools have huge illiteracy rates. We propose to combine two elements to build a teach-yourself literacy assistant activity:

  • SynPhony developed by Norbert Rennert based on Synthetic phonics
  • ESpeak the text to speech engine already on the XO

We would glue it into an Activity using the HTML5 offline specs; this way it could be used on any computer that had a browser which supported it.

Action Steps

  • Move existing SynPhony code to HTML 5 / SQL based database system with option to update from a server.
  • Design format for the DB to accept new languages arbitarily (inc. as we move to using HTML5 ?)
  • Integrate with speech markup language for use with ESpeak
  • Define structure for linking words to other media files e.g. images
  • Possibly include speech recognition options using FOSS engines?
  • Field Testing!


SynPhony is an open-source project that is developing a database structure to support literacy acquisition for (almost) any alphabetically written language. It will allow explicit literacy programs or games to query a user's knowledge base and retrieve language material that is tailored to the user's reading ability. It will keep track of a user's progress in acquiring literacy skills and move them to the next lesson when appropriate.

For more information about SynPhony, see: [[1]]

An example of a literacy activity page in English can be found here: [[2]]

For an example literacy page in Inuktituk using a syllabic script, click here: [[3]] (Use with Firefox only. Uses css font downloading.)

Project page on Sourceforge: [[4]]

Sourceforge Wiki for SynPhony: [[5]]


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