Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Nardagani Reading Program?

Nardagani is based on Japan’s reading system called Hiragana. Japan has one of the highest literacy rates in the world. The founder of our program learned to read Japanese in a week when she lived there. She has since adapted this system for English. Both Hiragana and Nardagani use symbols to help students learn to read quickly and easily. The Hiragana method uses 46 symbols. The Nardagani method uses only 12 simple symbols.

Our online reading program includes three hours of interactive teacher training in addition to a series of student lessons. The lessons contain fun, interactive exercises and games to help students learn the symbols and use them to decode and read English words quickly and accurately. Short, engaging coded books help students use the symbols to read words in connected text with ease. Once the student has gained confidence and proficiency in sounding out words using the symbols in our books, students are then able to transition into regular text without the symbols.

Students see the greatest success with the use of our online course when used in a blended learning environment. Students master the necessary reading skills through a combination of our interactive software and direct instruction from a supportive tutor. A tutor can be a teacher, parent, friend, or mentor who can read and is prepared to spend three hours a week with the student guiding instruction. The software lessons and games provide differentiated instruction in sound symbol relationships for both English letters and the Nardagani symbols. The software and our additional teaching materials provided make it easy for tutors to provide high-engagement, multisensory reading instruction.

The Nardagani symbols are like training wheels on a bicycle. Once students are confident and proficient with all the coded practice books, they are guided to our suggested reading list of non-coded books. These are books from the library or bookstore. They begin with entertaining, low-level books and progress to higher-level books. This secures a student’s ability to read without the symbols.

This is a critical stage for the student. You will want to have at least one of the books without symbols available for immediate use after completion of the Nardagani program. It is important that the student starts reading with low level books. This continues to build confidence. If the student begins reading books that are at a higher level, it is a defeating experience for the learner and he or she may lose interest and enthusiasm. We highly recommend that the tutor remain engaged with the student during this transition and continue to meet three times per week.

How will this help reading books without symbols?

The symbols are like training wheels on a bicycle; once the student has confidence in reading, he/she will no longer need them. Upon finishing the coded practice books, students are guided to our suggested reading list of non-coded books. These are books from the library, bookstore or purchased online. They begin with entertaining, low-level books and progress to higher-level books. This secures a student’s ability to read without the symbols. It is highly recommended that the parent, tutor or reading buddy continue with lessons from the suggested reading list. As with most things, mastery is accomplished through continued practice!

How does it work?

With the help of 12 simple symbols, a challenged reader can understand and pronounce every sound of each letter with no ambiguities. The guesswork in reading is eliminated. Words go from being confusing to being fascinating. Symbols “live” under letters that make more than one sound, acting as signposts telling the student which way to correctly pronounce the letters and whether the letter is silent or not. Once students learn the meaning of each symbol, they can see at a glance what the word is, effectively creating sight words out of those words that are otherwise difficult to learn and memorize because of the multiple sounds so many of our letters make.

Nardagani is a multi-sensory learning method with auditory, visual and kinesthetic teaching techniques embedded throughout the online learning software and the teaching materials, so students stay actively engaged and retain the information.

Nardagani is carefully crafted based on the most effective principles for teaching struggling readers … reading instruction that is multi-sensory, structured, sequential, cumulative, cognitive and flexible, as well as providing students with phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.

Why does it work?

We believe the Nardagani method reduces cognitive overload for challenged readers by replacing complex phonetic rules (and their exceptions) with our 12 simple and easy-to-understand symbols.

Can I learn Nardagani on my own?

Many students have learned to read using Nardagani on their own. However, we believe that working with a tutor and/or reading buddy maximizes chances of success.

How can Nardagani help me as a parent?

We believe that if your child is struggling to read, offering a different way to learn may be the biggest help and gift of all. Traditional reading methods have failed us. Research shows that 25 percent of our population cannot learn to read with traditional teaching methods.

As a parent, you can purchase the program and go through our three-hour training course (included in the software) and teach your child to read. Or you can hire a tutor to take the training and have the tutor teach your child. A tutor can be anyone. There is no need to have teaching experience. This course is very simple, and anyone can learn to teach it – a family member, friend or mentor.

We highly recommend teaching a lesson every other day. This gives the student time to absorb the lesson by working on the coding sheets and playing the lesson games to learn the symbols.

Be sure to read our Reading Buddy Guide. We highly encourage a parent, a sibling, or a friend to become your child’s “reading buddy” for these activities in between lessons. Having a buddy or mentor to work with on the practice materials has a substantial impact on the student’s enthusiasm and success.

We recommend purchasing the printed version of the Nardagani workbook, which includes the practice books and exercise sheets.

Does Nardagani duplicate my child's school curriculum?

Nardagani is designed as an interventive and quick solution that will actually allow your child to fully engage in the school’s curriculum. If a student is struggling to learn to read, his or her efforts are likely hampered in learning other subjects. We have seen our students’ knowledge accelerate across all subjects due to their new ability to read.

My child is behind in school. How long will it take to catch up to grade level?

If English is your child’s first language, on average our students have achieved grade level or higher in the five weeks required for our course. In the case of ESL students, the process can take longer.

Are there additional costs?

The cost of the Nardagani online program is $149. The program includes everything needed to learn Nardagani, including material that can be downloaded and printed. In certain markets, the printed material can be purchased separately in a bound format for $15-$59 as a convenience, although this is optional. There are no other costs associated with the Nardagani program, unless students choose to work with a tutor at their expense.

What if my child has a learning disability?

We have taught people with autism, dyslexia and undiagnosed learning disabilities. Students with learning disabilities often struggle to learn through traditional teaching methods. Nardagani uses a unique set of symbols to help learning disabled students match the sounds of our language to the letters of our alphabet so they can decode words quickly and easily.

What research has Nardagani completed to validate your method?

Nardagani was adopted by the Idaho State Department of Education in 2012.

In April 2016, a small-scale teacher research study was completed by Dr. Jeffrey Wilhelm, a nationally recognized literacy expert and professor of English Education at Boise State University (jeffreywilhelm.com). Dr. Wilhelm explored the efficacy of Nardagani on the decoding skills and reading fluency rate of struggling readers in a classroom setting. Dr. Wilhelm concluded that Nardagani was easy for teachers to learn and led to significant improvement in reading skills, especially compared with other reading programs. Please see Dr. Wilhelm’s conclusions on our Who Uses Nardagani page.

The efficacy of the Nardagani program has also been shown to be successful in pilot programs in detention facilities in Idaho and Oregon.

Is the Nardagani Program research based?

Yes. Reading research supports the teaching of decoding to permit readers to quickly and automatically translate the letters of written words into speech sounds so that they can identify words and gain rapid access to their meanings. Readers must learn to identify words quickly and easily so that they can focus on the meaning of what they are reading. Nardagani facilitates this process.

What is the difference between a tutor and a reading buddy?

The tutor teaches the program. The reading buddy is someone to do homework with. He or she can be a parent, family member or friend.

How can I become a tutor?

Anyone can become a Nardagani tutor by going through the three-hour interactive teacher training included with the online program.

How does Nardagani help English as a Second Language (ESL) learners?

Nardagani is a reading and pronunciation program. ESL students have improved their reading skills considerably and also improved their pronunciation with life-changing results.

How does Nardagani help with pronunciation?

The Nardagani program includes visual and auditory cues that enable students to recognize and learn proper pronunciation of each and every English sound.

Why is English so hard to learn?

Have you ever wondered why the letters “ough” can be pronounced in so many different ways? Read these words: though, through, rough, cough, bough and thorough! OUGH can be pronounced many different ways!

Or why there are so many silent letters like the k in knee and knock, the c in science or the h in ghost? Or why the letters “bow” can mean two different things depending on how they are pronounced? Or why Brits and Americans spell some words differently?

It’s complicated! We only have 26 letters of our alphabet which we use to represent more than 38 sounds of our language. Many letters make more than one sound, and many sounds are spelled in multiple ways. In addition, many words that have become part of our language originally came from other languages, like Greek, Latin and French. Thus, there are many rules and exceptions to the rules that need to be learned in traditional phonics instruction. This is the main reason learning to read English is so challenging.

Nardagani eliminates the need to learn all the rules and exceptions, thereby eliminating confusion. The Nardagani symbols “live” under letters that make more than one sound, guiding the student to use the correct pronunciation of the written word every time!

How do I use Nardagani for ESL?

If a student knows how to read in their primary language, he or she can easily learn to read and pronounce English with our program. You will want to find an English-speaking tutor to go through our three-hour teacher training interactive, online program. The tutor will teach a one-hour lesson every other day. A tutor can be a parent, a friend or family member… anyone can be the tutor; our program is that simple!

Why use Nardagani for ESL?

We use 12 simple symbols that teach every sound in the English language and how to properly pronounce them. Nardagani makes this process easy because the symbols show which sounds to make at a glance!
Many programs teach students to memorize commonly used phrases. Nardagani students learn to read the whole text in our practice reading books. Our pronunciation techniques are not available in any other courses. Students learn every sound of the English language easily with our proprietary system.