A Fredericton author has come up with a new language designed to make reading more fun and his children's book is now being used in a Grade 4 classroom.
Dale Vandenborre calls his language Glyffix. Like hieroglyphics, words are made up of pictures, symbols and spelling clues.
"With my own kids, I used to give them secret messages and see if they were smart enough to figure them out," says Vandenborre.
That hobby led to Vandenborre children's book Penelope's Imagination Runs Wild being written in Glyffix. It has been published by AuthorHouseBooks under Vandenborre's pen name A.J. Funn.
"Each word that you come upon is a little puzzle in itself," says Vandenborre. "And each sentence is a puzzle and each page is a puzzle, a bigger puzzle.
"To work through that puzzle requires logic and at the same time it teaches spelling," he says. "It counts on spelling to decipher a message. It counts on phonetics. It plays with synonyms and antonyms.
"There's a lot in the deciphering category that is about literacy and about reading."
Vandenborre was once a student at Minto Elementary-Middle School that is now embracing him as a local author.
Students like Travis Morton like the book.
"It's sort of like a little puzzle book," says Travis. "You can play with your family, trick your family, do dares with them in this book."
Teacher Jennifer LeBlanc says the book has helped her students improve their literacy skills.
"I found that is was a fun way for them to use their word work and things like that," says LeBlanc. "Their daily literacy has improved with their spelling and they just really enjoyed doing it.
"So that made it a lot easier to teach them that way."
Vandenborre has other books in Glyffix waiting to be published.
And he's looking for other opportunities to spread the word — or words — made up of pictures, symbols and clues.
Can you read Glyffix?
The photograph below is a page of Vandenborre's children's book written in Glyffix. Can you figure out what it says? To hear the author read the page, click on the photograph.