CLI Command for Kids

May 18, 2016
society parenting computers

I’ve been trying to get my daughter more interested in reading.

Here are all the exercises I can think of that get her engaged with a book:

  • She touches the words and I read what she touches
  • She’ll try and sound out words and I’ll be there as a resource
  • Before reading, quickly scan the book and pick out 4 “magic” words that appear regularly. Then read while pointing to words with my finger. When I alight on a “magic” word, pause, and make a sound. At that point, it’s up to her to figure it out.
  • Openly speak to Mom by spelling and let her know she can figure it out by writing the letters on her chalkboard.

This last one happened this morning and it’s good because it ties so many things together.

Your Mac has a built-in command named “say” that will give your kid lots of fun with spelling, and with words. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Open (It’s possible you’ve never used this)
  2. Make the window fullscreen by hitting the green dot in the upper-left of the window
  3. Increase the font size by a lot by hitting command-+ about 3-4 times.
  4. Now type at the command prompt: say

You computer is now in ‘say-mode’ anything you type into it, it will say after you hit enter. Tell your kid to put in “D-O-G” and see what happens.

I love this for so many reasons. Your child will be introduced to the command-line, they will learn what different letters sound like and where they are on the keyboard, and they can type in words from books to help them as they read.

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