PrimerPrep lets you quickly and easily perform the design steps of primer preparation.



A well-designed primer carefully leads the student through the process of language learning, starting with common letters and words, and building from there. But what letters and words should you start with? In which order should you add new letters? Traditionally you might count the letters and words by hand from a series of sample texts, and perform some calculations to guide you in those decisions. But there is a better way!

PrimerPrep allows you to load sample text files in the language, and can immediately show you the “optimal” teaching order as well as all of the words (from your texts) that are available for each lesson. You can literally have useful results in under a minute. But there are also numerous options for fine-tuning your results, including identifying word-break characters, digraphs, and affixes, and excluding specific words or affixes from the analysis. You can also easily change the teaching order by just dragging and dropping the letters, and all of the words available are immediately recalculated.

Language Configuration

Although PrimerPrep makes assumptions about your language (based on your input texts) so you can get results immediately, it also allows you to tweak the language configuration to fine-tune your results. You can:

  • exclude a functor (function word) in the word list
  • identify affixes to exclude them or count them separately
  • define word-building and word-breaking characters
  • define digraphs (or multigraphs)

Teaching Order

Determining the teaching order of letters for a primer is arguably the main function of PrimerPrep. It uses the elimination algorithm to determine the most productive teaching order, and presents all of the words from your input texts that can be created with just the letters already introduced to that point in the primer. Do you have a special need or requirement for the teaching order? No problem! Just drag and drop a letter in the teaching order to give it a new position. All of the example words are automatically recalculated to reflect the new order. You might want to do this to separate the introduction of similar letters in the primer (e.g. "n" and "m", or "b" and "d"), or to introduce a particularly useful word earlier in the primer. You can also add "sight words" in the teaching order, words that students are taught to recognize by sight, not through decoding. These might be words which can be drawn easily or are useful for story building.

PrimerPrep or Primer Pro?

PrimerPrep is designed to be simple to use. It makes assumptions about your language to give you results immediately, and allows you to configure a number of parameters to give you a more in-depth analysis. But there is some more powerful functionality for building primers which is only available in Primer Pro. (But be prepared… powerful functionality comes with a steeper learning curve!) This advanced functionality includes:

  • work with syllables
  • filter by part of speech (from input lexicon)
  • analyze linguistic features

We intend to add further functionality to PrimerPrep to provide all of the primer creation functionality that users require, so that Primer Pro can be “retired”. If you have a feature request, please contact us on the Support tab.

Common questions

What is the best thing about using PrimerPrep?

If you have a text in the language, you can literally be investigating the best teaching order in the language within a couple of minutes! It really is that easy!

Can PrimerPrep test my primer texts?

Yes! You can enter your texts for each lesson, and PrimerPrep will highlight in red all untaught residue, i.e. letters which the student has not yet been taught.

See full FAQ list

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