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Bijak Membaca — Applying Phonic Reading Technique and Multisensory

Approach with interactive multimedia for dyslexia children

Conference Paper · December 2012

DOI: 10.1109/CHUSER.2012.6504375


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5 authors, including:

Siti Zulaiha Ahmad Hawa Mohd Ekhsan

Universiti Teknologi MARA Perlis Universiti Teknologi MARA


Arifah Fasha Rosmani Mohammad Hafiz mypapit Ismail

Universiti Teknologi MARA Universiti Teknologi MARA


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2012 IEEE Colloquium on Humanities, Science & Engineering Research (CHUSER 2012), December 3-4, 2012, Kota Kinabalu,
Sabah, Malaysia

Bijak Membaca - Applying Phonic Reading

Technique and Multisensory Approach with
Interactive Multimedia for Dyslexia Children
Siti Zulaiha Ahmad, Nik Noor Amalina Amirah Nik Ludin, Hawa Mohd Ekhsan, Arifah Fasha
Rosmani, Mohammad Hafiz Ismail

Department of Computer Science

Faculty of Computer and Mathematical Sciences
Universiti Teknologi MARA,
02600 Arau, Perlis

Abstract— Reading difficulty is one of the major problems effectiveness differs depending on the children
faced by dyslexic children. Reading skill is the most crucial themselves. From the previous research, it is found that
ability as it is required in the upper level of discovery of by using existing teaching methods (traditional methods),
knowledge. In this research, Phonic Reading Technique and teachers cannot get much success in teaching dyslexic
Multisensory Approach are blended with interactive
children [5].
multimedia, which incorporates multimedia elements such
as text, graphics, video, and animation. The manner of It is known that multimedia plays an important role in
applying those techniques in “Bijak Membaca” is discussed. teaching children with dyslexia [4]. In this study, the
The contents of this application are specifically designed to Multisensory Approach and multimedia elements [6],
visualize letters, words, sentences, and pronunciations in the such as video, audio, animation, graphic, and image, are
Malay language for dyslexics, aged 7 – 8 years, with used.
awareness of their characteristics. In order to evaluate the This research concentrates on designing and
design of its content, heuristic testing is conducted among developing a reading tool called “Bijak Membaca” to
multimedia lecturers and IT undergraduates. The result assist dyslexic children in the reading process. The idea is
reveals that the contents are well designed with the inclusion
to provide a better learning strategy by applying the
of Phonic Reading Technique, Multisensory Approach, and
suitable multimedia elements. It is also concluded as Phonic Reading Technique in Malay language, blended
interesting, user-friendly, attractive, valuable, and with the Multisensory Approach. These learning
supportive. strategies are implemented using multimedia technology
that is specifically designed for dyslexics aged 7 to 8
Keywords—Phonic reading; Multisensory Approach; years.
Interactive multimedia; Dyslexic children; Heuristic testing The rest of this section is organized as follows: the
second section discusses the background of this study,
I. INTRODUCTION which includes the Phonic Reading Technique,
The first step to explore the world of knowledge is by Multisensory Approach, dyslexia and multimedia. In the
actively engaging in reading books, magazines, articles, next section, the focus is on implementation of learning
and other materials. Unfortunately, children with learning strategies in “Bijak Membaca”. The paper ends with
disabilities, especially dyslexia, usually have problems in disclosing results and findings obtained from heuristic
word recognition, which could hinder their ability to read testing.
[1]. They are usually hampered by slow reading speed,
omission of words [2], and inaccurate reading [3]. II. BACKGROUND
Consequently, it causes inferiority complex, loss of A. Phonic Reading Technique
confidence and focus, and frustration among these
Phonic skill is one of the learning strategies that is
children [2].
suitable for those with learning disabilities, dyslexics in
In order to provide improved learning conditions for
specific [7][2]. Phonic is defined as a system that
dyslexic children, an appropriate reading tool that attracts
emphasizes on letter-sound correspondences along with
and captivates their attention is required to support their
word-recognition activities [8]. Phonetic Approach is
learning process. It is very important to motivate and
proven as a natural way in learning to read [9] and it is
integrate them in an enjoyable learning process.
recommended by the National Reading Panel in US as
Therefore, dyslexic children need extra support [4] in
one of the key features of reading instructions [10].
terms of learning strategy to develop their skills in
Phonic reading is a systematic approach that decodes
reading. There are many learning strategies and their
letter-sound pronunciations [9] by breaking words into

978-1-4673-4617-7/12/$31.00 ©2012 IEEE 554

2012 IEEE Colloquium on Humanities, Science & Engineering Research (CHUSER 2012), December 3-4, 2012, Kota Kinabalu,
Sabah, Malaysia

corresponding sounds. Compared to the Syllable Spelling intelligence or poor educational potential. It is shown that
Technique, in phonic reading children just need to dyslexia is related to learning disabilities only [2].
remember 26 letters (a – z) and its sound [9]. There are Therefore, based on the above definitions, dyslexia
two different categories of phonemes, vowels (a, e, i, o, can be concluded as specific learning disabilities such as
u) with different pronunciations of “e” known as “e reading, writing, speaking, and listening that might occur
pepet”(/e) and “e taling” (/Ɲ), and also consonants (p, t, in early age. Dyslexics need support and more attention
k, b, d, g, c, j, s, h, 1, r, m, n, , ƾ , w, y/) [11]. They are from people around them to encourage them so that they
not forced to remember all the different syllables that can live like other people.
definitely will put some burden on the children,
especially dyslexics. For example, in the Malay language
D. Interactive Multimedia
‘a’ is pronounced as “aaa” and ‘b’ is pronounced as
“beh”. Combinations of these letters is called a syllable Multimedia as an interactive application can help
and pronounced as “beh - aaa - ba”. Previous researches dyslexics to reduce their weaknesses by focusing on their
show that the Phonic Reading Technique that emphasizes limitations and also on their potentials [18]. It is more
on letter-sound, is proven to improve reading skill [10] concise and clear; and helps them out from their
[12]. problems. Multimedia consists of interactive elements
that are usually used to attract viewers. There are several
B. Multisensory Approach combinations of multimedia such as text, audio, video,
There are two ways to teach dyslexics, either by using graphic, and interactive content. It can play the role of a
the traditional teaching approach or Multisensory secondary learning tool to enhance understanding among
Teaching Approach. The traditional method is not children and interest in their learning process.
effective for dyslexic children [13] as they need to stay Multimedia has the potential to reduce or remove
focused on the information that is being given to them most of the problems that are faced by dyslexics because
[7]. Unable to stay focused for long durations [2] and it uses interactive multimedia elements such as graphics
having short term memory problems [7][13] are major and auditory devices for development [7]. Besides,
contributors to the ineffectiveness of traditional methods. multimedia can be a teaching computer [8] because it
A better approach to teach dyslexics is by applying creates a fun learning environment for dyslexics. The
the Multisensory Method in the teaching and learning elements used in multimedia application such as text,
process by teachers [7] as it consists of strings of color, images, audios, video, animation, and graphics can
multisensory strategies (linking of eyes, ears, voice, and attract children to stay focused and have fun during the
hand movements) [6]. The Multisensory Method is learning session. In addition, it is also used on the
proven to be an effective method to teach dyslexic concept of teaching and understanding for dyslexics
children as they seem to interact with teaching tools and [4][19].
apply extra creativity towards their learning contents [6]. This may contribute to improvement in their learning
The strength of the Multisensory Approach lies in its process by providing extrinsic motivation for task
ability to attract dyslexics’ attention, as they usually have completion and also help to increase motivation [4].
problems staying focused during the learning process [7].


People who have different categories of disabilities
can be classified into a few specific groups such as The main focus in this section is to discuss the
dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dyspraxics [1][2][4]. These implementation of the reading technique and learning
types of syndromes have similar problems such as approach using the interactive multimedia application,
difficulty in speaking, writing, language problems, “Bijak Membaca”. The design of “Bijak Membaca” is
arithmetic confusion [6][14][15], emotional, and shown in Figure 1, which refers to the content of the
behavioral disorder [1][5][4]. application. Basically, “Bijak Membaca” consists of two
Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty and a main modules; i) “Tutorial” and ii) “Aktiviti”. In the first
disability [7][16] that is faced by a person. They show module, there are four sub-modules, which comprise
symptoms of difficulties such as in reading, writing, “Huruf”, “Suku Kata”, “Perkataan”, and “Ayat”.
listening, and speaking [1][15][17], which can cause Interactive activity is the main focus in the second
inferiority complex among dyslexics, especially children. module that consists of “Latihan Suai”, “Latihan Sebut”,
Generally, dyslexics’ characteristics are different from and “Latihan Baca”.
one child to another and characterized by unusual balance
of skills [2]. However, they are always being referred to
the cluster of symptoms like having difficulties with
specific learning skills, mostly reading [13].
According to related literature, this syndrome is
recognized as specific learning disabilities associated to
the neurological system that cover a wide range of
reading difficulties, [6] but does not imply low

2012 IEEE Colloquium on Humanities, Science & Engineering Research (CHUSER 2012), December 3-4, 2012, Kota Kinabalu,
Sabah, Malaysia

Figure 3. Letter-sound using Phonic Reading technique interface design

Figure 1: Design of “Bijak Membaca”
As stated earlier in this section, there are three
Figure 2 depicts the contents of the interactive different types of exercises that apply the Multisensory
multimedia application that applies learning strategies Approach in the “Aktiviti” Module. Firstly, pronouncing
which are the Phonic Reading Technique and activity page (“Latihan Sebut”), helps the user to
Multisensory Approach. differentiate the correct pronunciation of each critical
letter. Figure 4 shows the interface designs of different
categories in “Latihan Sebut”, which are letter, syllable,
and sentence. The user has to click on the letter and it
navigates to the next screen with the presence of sound.
By doing this activity, dyslexics link their sensory organs
such as eyes, ears, and hand movements interactively.
The reason for developing this page is because dyslexics
have problems with reading and recognizing letters.

Figure 2. Adaptation of Learning Strategies

Researchers incorporate the first module with the

Phonic Reading Technique, which involves letters,
syllables, words, and sentences. Dyslexics have a few
critical letters that they are confused with. These critical
letters are b, d, m, n, p, q, u, and w [20]. Dyslexics are
usually confused with small letters, and therefore a
decision is made to integrate a letter with a picture to
ensure that they recognize the letter. In the example of the
interface design shown in Figure 3, each letter is provided Figure 4. Interface Designs of “Sebut” Activity
with the letter-sound using the Phonic Reading Technique
and embedded with video that shows the pronunciation Secondly, drag and drop activity is chosen to give
technique. By using a pointing device, dyslexics can just different interaction styles to dyslexics. The user needs to
move over the lettered object to hear the phonic pick any letter provided and drag it to a correct place,
pronunciation. Besides that, the embedded video of each based on the given picture (Figure 5). Besides drag and
letter can be repetitively played to practice the drop, the user can also click on the syllables to complete
pronunciation technique. In some ways, it shows that the the task. These exercises are implemented by adapting the
Multisensory Approach is also applied with the linking of Multisensory Approach as the user needs to synchronize
eyes, ears, voice, and hand movements [6]. his hand movements by dragging the object to targeted
areas with the coordination of his eyes.

2012 IEEE Colloquium on Humanities, Science & Engineering Research (CHUSER 2012), December 3-4, 2012, Kota Kinabalu,
Sabah, Malaysia

Figure 6 shows the result of the Heuristic Evaluation

based on the content and feedback on structure. The
result shows that most of the evaluators agree that this
application is well designed with understandable content
(mean=4.67) and reading technique (mean= 4.5), and
suitable multisensory activities (mean=4.83).

Figure 5. Drag and Drop Activity

Lastly, the reading activity is designed to enforce the

Phonic Reading Technique with the application of the
Multisensory Approach. Children need to read the given
passage and be guided with pre-recorded voice using the
correct Phonic Reading Technique. Users have to link
their voice, ears, and eyes to perform this activity. Figure 6. Result of Heuristic Evaluation on Content and

IV. RESULT & FINDING Based on the feedback shown in Figure 7, multimedia
elements are designed and integrated very well as most of
In order to evaluate the interface design and usability them agree with the interface design (mean=4.67), sound
aspect of the application, Hueristic Evaluation is (mean=4.73), and navigation (mean=4.1) of the
conducted. Heuristic Evaluation is an informal usability application.
analysis and it is recommended to be done with between
three and five evaluators to view the interface design and
give their comments [21]. The evaluators should be
experts in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and other
similar project areas. For this study, this evaluation is
performed by multimedia lecturers from the Computer
Science Department and IT undergraduates who are
pursuing a course in HCI (Multimedia). The reason of
choosing those students as evaluators is to acquire their
feedbacks and comments based on their theoretical and
practical knowledge in HCI.Their task is to look into the
adaptation of learning strategies and multimedia content
in “Bijak Membaca”. They are given a set of
questionnaires that consists of five sections. The criteria
that need to be evaluated are i) content and structure Figure 7. Result of Heuristic Evaluation on Multimedia
(adaptation of phonic reading and Multisensory Interactivity
Approach), ii) interface design, sound, navigation
(multimedia elements), and iii) general feedback about General feedback results (refer to Figure 8) obtained from
the application. The scale used is from 1 to 5. Table 1 this evaluation show that “Bijak Membaca” is accepted as
shows the scale with the description that is included in an interesting (mean=4.33), user-friendly (mean=4.00),
the questionnaires. and attractive (mean=4.33) tool. It is also evaluated as
valuable (mean=4.67) and supportive (mean=4.67).

Rank Value
Strongly Agree 5
Agree 4
Neutral 3
Disagree 2
Strongly Disagree 1

2012 IEEE Colloquium on Humanities, Science & Engineering Research (CHUSER 2012), December 3-4, 2012, Kota Kinabalu,
Sabah, Malaysia

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