Story

EDUCATION

Transforming Adult Literacy through Pop Music

ABSTRACT

EFAS is a free app that uses music and lyrics to help US adults and global language learners improve their English literacy skills

Anyone who mastered the ABC’s via the alphabet song knows that music and words are a powerful combo for learning. That’s the idea behind English for a Song (EFAS)–a mobile app that marries hit tunes by top entertainers with engaging English literacy lessons. EFAS transforms the lyrics of hit songs into a scaffolded literacy curriculum for millions of adult native English speakers as well as billions of ESL learners worldwide. Primarily, EFAS is designed for the roughly 65 million American adults–US and foreign born–whose weak literacy skills keep them from higher education, better jobs, and, as many studies show, have a negative impact on their children’s health and education. What EFAS provides is a 24/7 literacy tool that teaches the basics of English through tuneful and dynamic learning activities that keep users coming back for more. At the same time, the EFAS playlist, curated from a range of genres from pop to hip hop, Country to R&B and more, helps learners, especially foreign students, absorb the richness of our musical, lyric culture and idiomatic expression. Our team - literacy educators and technical developers - includes Lora Myers, an adult basic education professional who co-created tv411.org, a major adult literacy site with approximately 50,000 unique visitors per month. Her extensive research on how music-related methodologies facilitate adult learning struck a chord, so to speak, with COO Simone Tarantino, an Italian-born entrepreneur who himself used music and songs to become fluent in English, as well as with President/CEO Josh Harrison and CIO Paul Shorr who share decades of expertise in adult education and training through corporate and consumer e-learning.