I READ, YOU READ: Polarity Reversal illustrates Barack Obama’s reading of “Green Eggs and Ham” with Kinetic Typography

In honour of Children’s Book Week, I’m sharing a video publicly for the first time that I made for a Polarity Reversal pitch a few years ago with kinetic typography, meaning animated word forms.  The video is based on a recording of former US president Barack Obama reading Dr Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham.

The project was called “I Read, You Read,” and the goal was to use kinetic typography to enhance early literacy and encourage kids to read aloud, where voice triggers word response and vice versa.  Screens should be allies of books in the path to increase a love of words, reading skills, and literacy. The current campaign to switch on subtitles for children’s TV shows is an idea that deserves widespread support, but more digital entertainment content should be proactively designed to not just incorporate, but reward reading and writing.  Reading aloud and following along while another person reads should not be limited to school books and bedtime stories.  Written words are powerful wherever we engage with them, whether on page, stage, or screen. All fiction is interactive when we read to each other.

So, why am I such an advocate specifically for Kinetic Typography? 

• Research shows that children learn to recognise word forms more effectively when the sound is accompanied by kinetic typography. 

• The word becomes a ‘character’ as well as a group of symbols. The word’s design and motion are mnemonics for meaning. 

• What’s more, spoken word with kinetic typography is just great fun!—Reading a story becomes ‘spoken-word karaoke’ for kids.

‘I Read, You Read’ is a project I’d still love to make, if there’s anyone out there who’s interested in helping fund the initiative.  For now, please enjoy the video and share it with children.

‘Barack Obama Reads Green Eggs and Ham’ was animated by Luis Sa, with art direction from Huw Gwillam

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