To print out this manual, which is advisable, do this at the prompt:
copy funlw.rme prn:
Your children will have an immensely enjoyable time with this program
and at the same time get a head start with learning letters and words!
You can just use this "readme" list program to read the manual, if you like.
What do you get when you register?
Registered versions come in CGA, EGA, or MCGA graphics. There is
no additional cost for the better graphic versions. In general
the EGA and MCGA versions merely have more colors and more
complexity to some drawings. If you have two computers or have a
new graphics board in your dreams, include a pleasant note
requesting desired versions.
We are also offering one of our other non-shareware programs as a
gift. Please choose one when you register.
Fun with Numbers - Featuring numeral recognition, counting,
grouping, adding, and subtracting, all with animation, colorful
graphics, and large block numbers.
Fun with Matching - the concentration game all kids love,
featuring matches between letters, shapes, words, numbers, and
objects to reinforce the learning from our other programs.
Fun with Drawing - using dots and basic (and not so basic)
geometrical shapes, as well as a myriad of colors, lets your Van
Gogh or Mondrian create drawings that will delight both children
and parents alike. Not your typical drawing program. This is
truly easy for 4 and 5 year-olds.
General Guidelines ............ 2
Entering the Help Screen
Tips for Level 1 (Letters)
Tips for Level 2-5 (Words)
Tips for Level 6 (Spelling)
Operating Instructions ........ 6
Upper and Lower Case Options .... 7
Picture and No Picture Option
Special Features (Alphabet song)
Customization ................... 7
Using your own pictures ......... 10
More than one child ............. 11
Leaving the program ............. 12
A User's Guide to
Fun with Letters and Words
When our older daughter, Lisa, was approaching two, we began
developing a program to satisfy her curiosity about the alphabet.
That initial minimal effort has now grown into a multi-level
reading program, which now three years later delights our three
In creating Fun with Letters and Words, we have spoken with
reading specialists and parents. We have also picked up ideas
watching other children use the program to ensure that Fun with
Letters and Words provides a good balance between play and educa-
tional activity. We would hope that you will likewise be in-
clined to offer your suggestions by dropping us a note.
As Lisa and Amy have played at the computer with their
special program, we have gained some insights into using Fun with
Letters and Words. And so we suggest the following with the hope
that you and your child will spend as many enjoyable hours
together with the program as our family has. (From here on, all
children are understandably referred to as "she.")
Frank Holmes Diane Holmes
Getting Started. Fun with Letters and Words is executed by
typing FUNLW while in MS-DOS. You can make copies of all
funlw.exe the Fun with Letters and Words program.
personal.flw the customized words.
numblevl.flw the level and options your child is using.
If there are any additions since the printing of this manual,
they are included in the file...
readme.flw (this file is informational only and may
not be on your disk.)
Entering the Help Screen. There are some minimal instructions
for changing skill levels and using other features in Fun with
Letters and Words. These can be accessed at any time by pressing
the ALT and H keys simultaneously. For additional operating in-
structions, the second half of this Guide, starting on page 6, is
devoted to a more complete description of the program, levels,
and options. Both the Help Screen and operating instructions are
intended for your use rather than your child's.
An activity to do together. Like all parents, we appreciate ac-
tivities our child can do on her own. However, Fun with Letters
and Words is like a first book -- an activity for you and your
child to do together for maximum benefit and enjoyment.
User friendly. Because Fun with Letters and Words is simple to
operate, we recommend letting an older brother, sister, babysit-
ter (aged 10 or older), or grandparent help your child with the
program periodically. This can increase the fun and provide her
with an opportunity to show what she knows to those who are
important to her.
How long should a session with Fun with Letters and Words last?
Stick with the program just as long as your child shows enthusi-
astic interest. For younger children, this may only be three or
Reinforcing the learning. As your child begins to recognize some
letters and words, reinforce what she has learned when you are
away from the program.
1) Point out letters and words she's learning in books, on
signs along the road, on labels at the grocery, etc.
2) We have found sitting down with Lisa with a piece of
paper and crayon to be helpful; we write out a word or
letter and ask her to identify it. Or we ask her what word
she would like for us to write and then have her tell us
what letter it begins with.
More than one child. If you have more than one child wanting to
use the program, we strongly suggest giving each her own list of
words. Instructions for this are included on page 10 of this
Random selection. As your child is introduced to each new level
of Fun with Letters and Words, she may prefer to randomly select
letters and numbers to see what appears on the screen. Once the
initial excitement of discovering all the graphics has worn off,
encourage her to pause long enough between selections so that you
can point out the letters and words. Once she has reached Level
2, have her repeat the word, and ask her if she knows what letter
she must have pressed to get that word and picture.
Counting 1 - 10. We believe your child, like Lisa, may be as
fascinated with numbers as letters and words. Through a random
selection or purposefully, she will invariably press the number
keys at the top of the keyboard. This will give her the number
as a digit and, if at levels 4 and 5, as a word. By pressing
F10, the Fun with Letters and Words counting melody is played as
numbers 1 through 10 appear on the screen.
Build confidence in your child. Praise her often. This is some-
thing we all probably know, but when teaching our own children,
we sometimes get impatient and push too hard. If your child
isn't succeeding on your terms, adjust to hers.
Tips for Level 1 (letters)
Level 1 -- designed for ages 2 and above. As you are introducing
your child to Level 1, we recommend that you resist the tempta-
tion to show her the full extent of the program. By concentrat-
ing on this level exclusively at first, she will be able to focus
her attention on the alphabet and become somewhat proficient
using the keyboard.
Capital vs. small letters. We think upper case letters are
easier to learn at first as they are more distinctly different
than lower case letters. For example, the lower case "b" and "d"
can understandably become confused. Regardless of which letters
you choose to introduce to your child first, don't wait too long
to show her the other set of letters. Be sure to go back and
forth between upper and lower case letters, and use the "both"
option so your child can begin to associate two forms for the
The Alphabet. As your child begins to understand that the pro-
gression of letters in a certain order constitutes the alphabet,
we believe she will enjoy pressing F8 to see the alphabet as
upper case letters and F9 to view the alphabet as lower case
letters. Both are accompanied by the ABC song.
Tips for Levels 2 - 5 (beginning and customized words)
When will my child be ready for Level 2...Level 3...Level 4...
Level 5? Level 2 can be introduced as your child is showing some
mastery of letters. Before going to the next levels, please bear
in mind that approximately 50 new words and graphics are added
with each level. You and your child will need to decide when she
is ready for the next level.
A phonics approach. To see a particular word or graphic, your
child must identify the beginning sound and then press the letter
that word begins with. We chose words that are frequently used
by young children or commonly seen as they go about their daily
routines -- e.g. walk, pull, stop, up. Talk with your child
about what word she wants to see. Ask her what letter she thinks
she should press. Encourage her to "sound it out" as she makes
Capital or small letters. Again, mix it up with upper and lower
Customized words. Probably the one feature of Fun with Letters
and Words you and your child will enjoy most is the customiza-
tion. We know that young children are anxious to learn to read
the words they frequently use on a daily basis -- names of family
members and friends, address, and birthday. Words like "Mommy",
"Daddy", and her own name will be the words your child will learn
first. Words 1 - 10 are for your child's full name and the names
of family members. Word 12 is to enter the sex of your child.
We believe the best use for words 13 - 19 is for names of friends
and addi- tional family members (e.g. Grandma, Grandpa, etc.).
You might also want to periodically use words 13 - 19 to
concentrate on a particular beginning letter. The last five
words are for pets' names and your child's address and birthday.
No pictures? Please try levels 2 - 5 without pictures. Although
the graphics are what your child will probably like best, it will
become evident when the pictures are taken away that she does not
really know some of the words you thought she knew -- she has
been relying totally on the graphics. This is normal; just
stick with it. Using the "no pictures" option, you can have your
child search for a word. When she thinks she has found it, have
her press the "/" key for the accompanying graphic to appear.
Tips for Level 6 (spelling)
When will my child be ready for Level 6? Even a child who is at
Level 1 will enjoy typing at the keyboard and seeing the block
letters appear. Therefore, feel free to use this level early on
...just don't expect your child to type actual words.
Getting the most out of Level 6. As your child begins to recog-
nize words from levels 2 - 5 and her own customized words, she
can try to spell them. We have had the best luck with names of
family members. As your child tries to spell a word, talk about
the letters and sounds; the appearance of the graphic will show
her she has spelled the word correctly.
At any time when you are using Fun with Letters and Words, you
can press the ALT and H keys to call up the Help Screen. This
screen has been designed to give you an overview of skill levels
and some of the options Fun with Letters and Words offers. Here
is a more complete description of the program, levels, and
Levels 1 - 6
The level is changed by pressing the ALT key and numbers 1, 2. 3,
4, 5, or 6 while the program is running. In the Help Screen,
changes to and from levels can be made by selecting the appropri-
ate number or letter with or without the ALT key.
Level 1 features the alphabet (ALT 1). The appropriate full-
color block letter or number appears on the screen as your child
presses a letter or number key. You may designate upper case
letters only (ALT U), lower case letters only (ALT L), or both
Levels 2 - 5 introduces your child to beginning words. The four
levels have been designed with increasing difficulty to keep pace
with your child's expanding capabilities. Briefly...
Level 2:Beginning words -- one word per letter plus all
customized words (refer to discussion on
Customization on page 8). ALT 2
Level 3:More beginning words -- three words per letter
plus all customized words. ALT 3
Level 4:More words -- up to five words per letter plus all
customized words. ALT 4
Level 5:All 147 words plus customized words. ALT 5
Every time a letter is pressed, a word beginning with that letter
appears accompanied by a full-color graphic and sometimes music.
The exception is the letter "x" where the words that appear con-
tain this letter but do not begin with it. As in Level 1, full-
color block numbers appear along with the word when your child
selects a number key.
Almost all words have graphics. For the few that do not, the
word is displayed both at the bottom and middle of the screen.
All letters have at least three words. Beyond Level 3 in levels
4 and 5, you will note that the number of words per letter var-
ies. The program has been designed, however, to allow all words
within a letter to be used equally in these levels.
As in Level 1, you may designate upper case only (ALT U). Other-
wise both upper and lower case will be used when you have asked
for either lower case (ALT L) or both (ALT B).
Level 6 is for spelling (ALT 6). At this level, your child can
type and watch as block letters appear at the bottom of the
screen. As letters are typed, three lists of words are checked
to see if a match is found -- the program's 147 words with
graphics, your customized words, and a secondary dictionary of
490 words compiled just for this level. More specifically, the
following will occur when a word is matched:
If one of the words used in levels 2 - 5 is matched, a
graphic will appear to verify for your child that the word
has been spelled correctly. If there is no graphic for the
word being typed, that word will then be rewritten in the
middle of the screen.
When a customized word is matched and there are graphics
(dog, cat, sister, etc.), these will be shown when the word
is spelled correctly. Otherwise, the word is rewritten in
the middle of the screen.
When a Fun with Letters and Words dictionary word is matched
(there are no graphics for these words), the word is re-
written in the middle of the screen. We have tried to in-
clude words most commonly used by young children.
Letters, periods, apostrophes, hyphens, and blanks can be used,
but the first key pressed must be a letter. Letters will be
proportionately spaced. If there is insufficient room on the
line for the letter pressed, the entire line is erased. The
RETURN key will clear the line. The BACKSPACE key or the left
arrow key will erase the right-most letter.
Again, you may designate upper case letters (ALT U) only. When
using either the ALT L or ALT B options, the letters typed will
appear as lower case letters; upper case letters can be created
by using the SHIFT or CAPS LOCK keys. Matches do not depend on
correct use of capital letters. However, once matched, the typed
word will reappear with correct capitalization, and the matched
word is shown with correct capitalization as well.
Upper Case Letters:ALT U. Only upper case letters are shown for
Lower Case Letters:ALT L. Only lower case letters are shown for
Level 1. Words are displayed in lower case
letters with correct capitalization for lev-
els 2 - 6.
Both upper and
lower case letters:ALT B. Both upper case and lower case let-
ters are used for all levels.
Pictures:ALT P. Graphics appear with words in levels 2
No Pictures:ALT N. No picture appears in levels 2 - 6.
When the "/" key is pressed, the picture
case letters:F8. The alphabet is displayed in upper case
letters accompanied by the ABC song.
case letters:F9. The alphabet is displayed in lower case
letters as the alphabet song is played.
Counting 1 - 10:F10. The Fun with Letters and Words
"counting" melody is played as the numbers 1
through 10 appear on the screen.
By pressing the ALT and C keys, you enter the customization
screen. Here you can add, or change at any time, 25 customized
words for your child.
Words 1 - 10 are for your child's full name and the names of fam-
ily members. Word 11 is for the sex of your child. The next 8
words can be additional family or friends' names or words that
intrigue your child. The last five words are for pets' names and
your child's address and birthday.
To add or change a word, enter the number of the particular word
as a response to the question at the bottom of the screen, press
the RETURN key, fill in the word, and press the RETURN key again.
For example, if you wish to add the name of a brother, enter the
number 7, press the RETURN key, type in the name, and press the
Similarly words can be eliminated by choosing the appropriate
number, pressing the RETURN key, and then pressing it again when
the new word is asked for. After every change you will be shown
the complete list of custom words.
All words are tested to ensure that they use only letters, hy-
phens, blanks, periods, and apostrophes. If a word contains an
upper case letter, then it will always be displayed with an upper
case letter. Words are also tested to ensure that they will fit
on one line when using the "both" option for upper and lower case
letters. Words that will not fit on a line using all upper case
letters are automatically converted to lower case letters even
when the "upper case" letter option is in effect.
Uses of customized words are as follows:
Family names are used with the word Family.
Your child's first name is used when starting the program,
ending the program, and in "book"; first and last names are
used in "mail"; and all parts of his/her name are used in
The names you enter under brother, sister, aunt, uncle, etc.
will appear together with those words in levels 2 - 6.
The names you give for mom and dad (e.g. mommy, papa) will
appear with pictures of a man and woman.
The dog's name and cat's name will be used with a picture of
a dog and a cat respectively.
Your child's city will be used with "mail" and on its own
without any graphics.
Your child's state will be used only with "mail."
Your child's birth month and day will be used with "birth-
After adding or changing words, you must decide whether or not to
save the new words. Entering "s" at the prompt saves your addi-
tions and/or changes; entering "q" ignores all changes since the
last save. You do not need to do this for each new word indepen-
dently, only once as you exit the customization screen. This
action is completely separate from exiting the overall program
when you are saving the level of operation and options, not the
Using your own pictures
Drawings made with our children's drawing program, Fun with
Drawing, or pictures from other sources may be included as
In order to make this happen, the picture files must be in the
PCX file format. This format is used by PC Paintbrush by ZSoft
and other programs. For this version of Fun with Letters and
Words, pictures must be in CGA mode, 320 by 200 resolution (4
colors). In addition, although the program will display pictures
that take up the entire screen, you should limit the size of the
drawing to 320 by 155, therefore allowing the word to be printed
at the bottom.
File names must have the suffix .P11 in order for Fun with
Letters and Words to find the pictures. Fun with Letters and
Words will look only in the current directory for files and
drawings. Therefore, the accessory files 'numblevl.flw' and
'personal.flw' must be in the current directory along with your
The word - or drawing name - must be entered as one of the custom
words, using the customization screen. You may reuse a word used
elsewhere in Fun with Letters and Words. For these custom words
to match with a drawing give the drawing the same name. Blanks,
"'", '-', and '.' may be used in the custom word but are dropped
in the drawing name. If more than eight valid characters are
used, the drawing name should be truncated. Matches occur
without respect to upper or lower case. You may use DOS to
rename files to the proper names.
Examples: Custom Entry Drawing Name
my picture mypictur.p11
Amy's picture amyspict.p11
Akron Oh. akronoh.p11
More than one child
The most straightforward approach in providing each child with
her own set of customized words would be to create a floppy disk
for each child. Unless you have a hard disk, we strongly
recommend this approach.
However, if you have a hard disk and are familiar with batch
(BAT) files and directories, you might create separate director-
ies each containing a separate version of numblevl.flw (the file
which will keep track of the skill level), and personal.flw (the
file with each child's customized words). Then in your BAT
files, use the path command to ensure that the appropriate files
One example of how this might work... a hard disk would contain
the following directories and files:
Files: numblevl.flw (Lisa's skill level and other
personal.flw (Lisa's customized words)
Files:numblevl.flw (Amy's skill level and other
personal.flw (Amy's customized words)
Contents of dolisa.bat
path c:\play(to find program funlw.exe in the play
cd c:\lisa (to find Lisa's personal files)
funlw (executes the program)
cd c:\play (returns to c:\play directory)
Contents of doamy.bat
path c:\play(to find program funlw.exe in the play
cd c:\amy (to find Amy's personal files)
funlw (executes the program)
cd c:\play (returns to c:\play directory)
Leaving the program
Exit with Save:ALT E. This saves the current level, letter
option, and picture option for the next time
your child runs the program.
Exit without Save:ALT Q. This exits the program without saving
your current level or options. The next time
your child runs the program, she will use the
same levels and options as when you started
For further information, please contact us at:
2316 Park Place
Evanston, IL 60201