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build Reading Skill Kit
An engaging ecosystem for learning how to read

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Many children and adults encounter difficulties when first learning to read. Available learning aids are often stand-alone solutions requiring therapists to develop ad-hoc curricula around them.

build it


The BUILD team within the Master of Product Design & Development Management (mpd²) Program developed a learning ecosystem to be utilized by educators in structured therapeutic sessions. The BUILD system consists of sets of modular magnetic wood blocks available in sets that progressively build on reading skills.


  • A fun and intriguing toy for children and adults
  • Sensory-appropriate learning aid for subjects experiencing difficulty reading
  • Buildable spelling aid encouraging higher levels of visualization
  • Structured system of school and home therapeutic sets for professional use
  • Community ecosystem facilitating communication between parents and professionals

Development Process

  1. The BUILD team explored various POGs (Product Opportunity Gaps) and discovered a need for comprehensive and fun tools to teach reading.
  2. The design team studied subjects experiencing difficulty with reading, and interviewed therapists working with reading challenges.
  3. Using rapid prototyping, the team explored a wide variety of product configurations and reiterations. Exploratory prototyping included creating visual and physical mockups as well as performing computational and digital analysis to address the specific need of the users.
  4. Once focused on the most promising solution to the overall problem, the team followed an iterative process to further develop design solutions from a technological and therapeutic perspective.
  5. The BUILD product was presented to various industry representatives generating interest. Currently, the BUILD team is undertaking further research and refinement through user testing and ethnographic study.
TeamRobert Cimarusti, Gerardo Fitz-Gibbon, Sanjuana Jaime, Wolfgang Josenhans, Laurentiu Padeanu, Franco Torres, Cristopher Watson
ProgramMaster of Product Design & Development Management (mpd²)
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