The page you were reading uses a new kind of reading help and support tool called the Magic Ladder.  

Learning to read, or getting better at reading, is easy with the Magic Ladder PQ App. Whenever you run into a word that you don’t know, just touch or click it. As soon as you do, a ‘pop-up’ will appear that will help you learn to recognize the word and understand what it means. There are only a few steps you have to learn.

Steps for Recognizing Words:

#1. Always click or touch every word you don’t know. If the word has a lot of letters, the word will appear broken into smaller and more easily readable parts. For an example, click on the following word: segmented. 

#2. Once the word pops up in the blue box, try to read it again. If you still don’t recognize the word, click it (click inside the blue box). Watch and listen to how the letters are spoken and change their looks. Try to read it again.   

#3 If you still don’t recognize the word, click it again, watch, listen, and try again to recognize it. Watching and listening to the letters will help you figure out the word. Keep clicking the word and trying to read it until you recognize it. 
  Steps for Understanding Words:

#1. Whenever you recognize a word but don’t know what it means, click the word to open the Magic Ladder PQ App (just like you would for a word you don’t recognize).  

#2. Click on the WordExplore  button in the Magic Ladder PQ App to open the Reference Panel.  

#3. If English is your primary language, click on the Dictionary button to see the word’s definitions. If English is not your primary language, click on the Translator  button to see translations in your language. Note: if the Translator is not set to your language, click on the Translator Menu button to select your language. 




1 – The PQ Pop-Up remains active for the text displayed in the  Dictionary,  Thesaurus, and  Word Origins tabs of the Reference Panel. Click on any word in those tabs to have the PQ Pop-Up help you with decoding, pronunciation, and word recognition. Click on the Word Explore  button in the Pop-Up to see that word’s reference panel results. 

2 – Click on the gray triangle next to the Translator button for a menu of available languages. 

3 – The WordScope  button opens a tool for playing with the sounds and letters within words. Click for more information on WordScope. 

Word Origins

The Magic Ladder is based on the research conducted by the Children of the Code Project and is an expression of the mission of Learning Stewards.  See “About” for more information on the Magic Ladder, how to use it, how to add it to your browser, and/or how to embed it in your website. See “Main Library” to access learning to read content. For a background article on the design of the Magic Ladder click here.