A White Paper on

Internet-based Literacy Delivery Tools


The American University in Cairo

5th Conference on E-Learning Applications

(January 14-15, 2007)


Submitted by

Mahmoud Elsayess and Arnold Silverman





The Arabic world, particularly the area that we refer to as the Middle or Near East, is in turmoil.  Fighting in Iraq and Lebanon and Israel has resulted in thousands of deaths, the destruction of property and the wounding and maiming of the innocent.  Economies and resources have been destroyed, and each day the inhabitants of the affected countries become increasingly desperate.  This desperation, leading to anger and mistrust, is not only prevalent in the nations under siege, but in some manner, in all such Mid East nations as well.  The leadership of many of these countries, without the necessary resources, infrastructure and requisites required to build a modern society have been unable to adequately address the basic needs of its ordinary populace, resulting in these nations not keeping technological pace with the modern world.  Many have fallen behind to the extent of approaching so-called 3rd world status.  Additionally, not only these nations, but oil-rich nations as well have not been successful in improving the economic and educational standards of its common, ordinary citizens.


Limited investment in all elements of education – facilities, instructors, teaching materials, etc. – has led to an acceleration of illiteracy in most Arab countries.  This, in turn, has resulted in inordinate unemployment due in part to the inability of significant portions of that society to perform skills required for the new jobs created by global trade; thus, the anger, frustration and disaffection of the masses.  Energetic, unemployed, young people without hope of improving their desperate, economic status can be manipulated by persuasive dogma promising them a better future.  Unless there is change, the Arab world will forever be “on the eve of modernity.”


It is the contention of the writers of this paper that enhancing Arabic language reading and writing skills of all Arabic language students–illiterate, semi-illiterate and advanced- will contribute to world peace and multi-cultural understanding and acceptance by improving their lives, thereby lessening their despair. 


This paper addresses the problem in greater detail and describes an advanced, computerized tool for accomplishing the worthy goals of increasing literacy and multi-cultural understanding in the Muslim world.







First, what is Read~Verse Company?  Read~Verse is an association of computer software specialists - Jews, Christians and Muslims - dedicated to building mutual understanding and respect among all people and all denominations.  Focused on Internet tools that will upgrade the reading levels of millions of Arabic speaking people throughout the world, we have developed and are offering state-of-the-art software tools that will enable users to find relevant topics in the Koran/Quran in either Arabic or English.  These tools are intended not only to enhance all levels of Arabic reading skills – from illiteracy to proficiency - but to encourage a proper understanding of the positive elements of The Quran as well. 


These Internet software tools can be effective for teaching all levels of education including under and post graduate studies.  Instructors can use the software with its cutting-edge phonetic audio feature to teach students anywhere in the world.  Of significant importance is the capability of our tools to assist thousands of students to study Arabic from their homes or schools.


We believe our software tools can contribute to and significantly complement the progressive programs that organizations like yours are supporting.  As trade and job opportunities expand globally for those who are studying Arabic both here and abroad, better Internet software tools must be available to effectively meet their accelerating demands.  We believe that our Read~Verse software fulfills that need. 


The multiple benefits Read~Verse offers include:

·        Schools will be better able to manage, administer and evaluate the quality of their course curriculum, and will be able, by offering widening online classes, to expand their respective  student bases and, when feasible, to enhance revenue. 

·        Instructors will gain efficiency not only in not having to constantly repeat proper pronunciations, but in being able to replicate their successful class materials as well.

·        Students will be able to repeat a lesson where and as often as they wish.  In addition they can take quizzes with the software correcting their answers.      


In addition, our Internet tools will include relevant reference material to assist interested people worldwide in comprehending Islamic culture. Augmenting the study of Arabic language with Islamic literature will not only enhance students’ comprehension of Arabic, but will give them a deeper, broader understanding and appreciation of the Muslim world and psyche as well.  This will make students more successful in Arabic and the Muslim world. We contend that access to such information is mandatory for both instructors and students in order to successfully deal and negotiate in the Muslim world. 


While our focus is on improving Arabic language education, we have more meaningful, long-term goals. We believe that such tools can extricate millions of desperate, unemployable young, Middle Eastern people to a productive life through education.  We further believe that in time this will relieve the explosive pressures of discontent and mistrust towards the modern world, and will lead to peace and respect between the cultures.  We strongly believe this, and are committed to its fulfillment.


The Problem


To gain an understanding of the problem, we need only refer to and extrapolate from a consideration of illiteracy in Egypt.  Efforts to improve the economic and educational standards of illiterates in Egypt have been very minimal at best: 


“Because as many as 16 percent of Egyptian children were receiving no education in the 1980s, the literacy rate lagged behind the expansion in enrollments; in 1990 only 45 percent of the population could read and write.  At the time of the revolution in 1952 fewer than 50 percent of all primary-school-age children attended school, and the majority of the children who were enrolled were boys. Nearly 75 percent of the population over ten years of age was illiterate. More than 90 percent of the females in this age group were illiterate.”


The lack of investment in new teaching tools contributed to an acceleration of illiteracy in Egypt.  This, of course, has resulted in an inability of significant portion of Egyptians to perform the skills of new jobs that could be created by global trade. 


“85 percent of the Ministry of Education's budget has been designated for salaries.”


“20% of the Egyptians live below poverty line”


The lack of qualified teachers worsens the literacy rate in Egypt.

“In 1985-86, Egypt's primary and secondary schools employed only 155,000 teachers to serve 9.6 million pupils--a ratio of about 62 students per teacher. Some city schools were so crowded that they operated two shifts daily. Many Egyptian teachers preferred to go abroad, where salaries were higher and classroom conditions better. During the 1980s, the government granted 30,000 exit visas a year to teachers who had contracts to teach in Arab countries”.


The difficulties detailed herein are evident in every Mid East country.  In determining how best to attack them, it is helpful to review the findings of the William Gates Foundation.  From their comprehensive studies they have concluded that conventional methods of teaching have a negative impact on education globally.  Diane Ravitch, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a professor of education at New Your University, wrote in the Los Angeles Times, July 30, 2006, “The Gates Foundation seems chastened and apparently has recognized that curriculum (what students are taught) and instruction (the quality of teachers) may be no less important than school size. Perhaps, with its deep expertise in technology, the foundation will think about investing in the development of innovative, interactive software to transform the teaching of mathematics and science in classrooms from kindergarten through grade 12”,1,6210189.story?ctrack=1&cset=true


It is the assertion of the writers of this paper that Read~Verse innovative, interactive software systems can significantly assist in enhancing the Arabic language reading and writing skills of all students – illiterate, semi-illiterate and advanced.  This will contribute significantly in improving the lives and lessening the despair felt by millions throughout the Muslim world.  A description of this system for accomplishing those goals follows.


The Tools


Read~Verse language instruction systems include several key components.  One of the most important of these is ALI (Arabic language Interactive System).


What is ALI system?

ALI System is a new, Internet-based, software system that offers significant benefits to Arabic instructors, students, and school administration. Developed using leading edge, Internet-based software, ALI is designed to alleviate many of the tedious and costly aspects of teaching. Once an instructor composes class material (lessons, tests with answers, etc.), the data is entered into the ALI system. ALI automatically codes the information, and at the instructor’s command, sends the material to each respective student. The student completes the lesson, and then takes a test. ALI then grades the test, and sends the results back to the instructor or, if the instructor so wishes, to the instructor and the student. Stringent protective security measures are built into the system; students will not be able to access quiz answers unless permitted by the instructor. Lessons can be modified and enhanced at the discretion of the instructor whenever and as often as he/she feels necessary. ALI will simply note and incorporate the change(s) into the updated material. Thus, without the delays, the costs of reproduction and distribution, and the time spent marking examinations, instructors can reduce costs and utilize their professional time more effectively in planning and improving course material and instruction methods


ALI includes these functions:

·        The complete contents of a lesson. A list of questions (multiple choices, fill in, true or false).

·        The correct answers. ALI automatically marks and grades the test(s) with options to send the results to an instructor only, the student and instructor, or to other recipients.

·        ALI keeps track of all of the lessons that a student takes with date, time, and grades.

      It will keep track of all of the lessons an instructor created with date and time.

·        An instructor can copy an Arabic text, English text, or Arabic/English text, and paste and store it.

·        An instructor will be able to copy an existing lesson, and/or create new ones.

·        The system also includes Arabic / English vocabulary lists.


ALI will provide the following services:

·        An instructor can create a new lesson, update an existing lesson(s), or copy and paste to create a new one.

·        Practice sessions to drill students can be created with ALI System.

·        Student placement tests can be created by instructors.

·        An author of a lesson can charge a royalty fee for lessons.

·        An instructor can edit a lesson before publishing them.

·        An instructor can print one or many lessons.

·        Access to each lesson must be authorized by the instructor.

·        Plus many additional services


ALI has various additional operational efficiency features that include:



Assuming a significant number of copies of Arabic text software are globally maintained on your network, it is very costly and time consuming to keep user systems current on the latest release(s) of each Arabic software text editor. ALI need be updated only once on the Internet at which point it is available globally for all users.



There are 16 different character sets that Microsoft supports for each of different Arabic speaking countries. If, to cite an example, a user in Egypt composed a letter that is sent to his counter part in Iraq, it is highly probable that the recipient will not be able to comprehend the letter due to differences in character sets. With ALI there is no compatibility problem because of the use of a universal Arabic character set. 



The production and distribution of class materials usually involve considerable costs. With ALI and its utilization of the Internet, these costs are minimized.  Instructors can compose, update, manipulate, and distribute course materials without prohibitive, conventional costs



Each Arabic text editor has it’s own standard procedures and "short cuts" that make maintaining one standard very difficult. With ALI a standard is built into the system.



A stand-alone PC system that has an Arabic text editor will require accessing that computer to compose an Arabic document. With ALI, it is accessible globally via the Internet.



Moving staff from one country to another in the Middle East may require additional training for using a new Arabic text editor. With ALI orientation is required only once because of the use of the universal character set.


In summary:

·        A school administration will be better able to manage, administer and evaluate the quality of its course curriculum, and by offering widening online classes, to expand its student base and enhance revenue.

·        Instructors can design and build class curriculums and update them instantly, thereby avoiding reprinting cost.

·        Instructors, with the responsibility of "delivering" class curriculums, will gain efficiency by not only not having to constantly repeat proper pronunciation and usage of Arabic sentence structure, but in being able to replicate their successful class materials as well.

·        Students will be able to repeat a lesson where and as often as they wish.  In addition, with instructor approval, they can take quizzes with the software correcting their answers. This will facilitate and expedite the learning process.


The Koran (Quran) Databases

For more advanced students Read~Verse system includes a huge database that comprises the entire Koran (Quran).  By far the most widely consulted book in the Middle East, the Koran (Quran) can be said to be the complete, technical source for Arabic language. As with the King James Version of the Bible and its influence on English language and literature, the Quran is a treasury of Arabic literature that has kept Arabic alive and vibrant.

Read~Verse has several search engines that can help students find correct information about the Quran immediately in real time.  Instructors can assign a translation task to one or many students to critique the translations of 4 different authors against the Arabic text.  There are up to 6236 unique, critiquing tests for students. This unique teaching tool with its huge database was designed to provide Arabic instructors with a very large volume of materials for testing the competence of Arabic-learning students at any level. The huge database is based on what is considered the ultimate testing document in Arabic, the Quran. Students who can proficiently translate a verse from the Quran to English can be said to have a command of the Arabic Language.


For more detailed description of ALI please visit



About the Authors:


Mahmoud Elsayess, President:

Mr. Elsayess has over 35 years as a Data Processing professional. His technical and managerial background include expertise and experience with IE/IEF(CASE), IMS/DB/DC, IDMS/R, ORACLE, DB2, MS ACCESS, COBOL, Visual Basic, MQSeries (Client \ Server) HTML, Java, C++, and ASP. He is also proficient in PHP, MYSQL, Apache, and Flash. Senior responsibilities with an impressive array of renowned organizations including The Auto Club of Southern California, IBM, Deloitte, Touche, Computer Sciences Corporation, American Express, Hughes Aircraft, ITT, and the County of Los Angeles have provided Mahmoud with the background and professional expertise to assure that all Read~Verse products will be imbued with the latest technology and developments. With Master degrees in both Computer Sciences and Business Administration, he has been teaching Internet courses for the last eight years at the University of Phoenix.  


Arnold Silverman, Vice President:

Mr. Silverman brings to Read~Verse over 40-years of computer systems experience. His knowledge and expertise with application software gained from senior management responsibilities with some of the world's largest companies provide a rich resource for Read~Verse. His national and international senior Sales and Marketing responsibilities for several renowned companies including ITT, McDonnell Douglas and C. Itoh & Co. Ltd. will provide Read~Verse an experienced and knowledgeable hand as it moves into the public sales arena. Arnold has an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Rutgers University and a MBA in Marketing from CCNY.







27 - Internet-based Literacy Delivery Tools

PC Comments:

1- The paper is about the problem of literacy in Egypt and how to improve the Arabic language teaching. However, the paper mentioned that most of illiterate people are under the line of poverty. So how will they afford technology while they cannot afford their basic needs??

There are numerous avenues that can support this project. Among them are:


a) Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

b) USA charitable organizations

c) Americans citizens who migrated from Egypt

d) United Nations

e) The host/user nations themselves  

It is our hope and expectation that all would contribute jointly.

2- Besides how these illiterate people will use computers and online learning to improve Arabic skills while they couldn't read and write. Shouldn't they learn reading before using technology?


Read~Verse software will deliver the majority of learning tools including audio, videos, text, and animation.  Instructors can use the software for teaching reading, writing, math, English and other disciplines.  Read~Verse tools deliver the education materials; they do not construct the contents of the learning materials.  That is reserved for the teachers.  Read~Verse provides the tool.  We are not teachers.

3- The paper mentioned that the read ~ reverse is an association with Jews, Christians and Muslims members; how the Jews and Christian teach the Arabic language and also help students in comprehending Islam and the Qur'an while they don't comprehend both??? Will the organization let the Muslims teach the Jews the Torah and teach the Christians the Bible?


Read~Verse is not chartered to teach.  Our diverse staff of computer software specialists experienced in the latest technological developments has developed several products that require such extensive programming skills.  Our system includes databases that includes the Holy Quran in different formats.  While marketing and programming activities are carried out by the total staff – Jews, Christians and Muslims, The Holy Quran text and databases are handled strictly by Muslims.

Again, Read~Verse staff is not engaged in teaching anyone any religion; Our Read~Verse staff makes the Holy Quran accessible on the internet the same way it is accessible in a printed format.

One of the most important benefits of Read~Verse is making the Holy Quran text available for magazine, newspaper, film studios, technical writers, and lawyers who are interested in learning and finding the truth about the Holly Quran. 

We wish to add that our diverse staff is dedicated to building world peace through education and learning for all.

4- The designing of the program in the paper is not clear, it need more explanation how it will be done and how it will achieve its goals?

Read~verse uses “Flash Movies”, an automation software tool, to teach the correct way of using its software; “show-me” buttons are used extensibly.  Users can press “show-me” buttons at any time to watch an automated  illustration of the steps to be followed.


Author Comments:

The idea of illiteracy eradication is a novel one in spite of comments and some objections on how it will be done.

The authors did not spell out how cooperation between Jews and Christian would work in teaching Muslims to comprehend Islam. Any Muslim would look very suspicious on such an organization because how someone could teach something he does not know about and/or does not believe in?


Read~Verse is not chartered to teach.  Our diverse staff of computer software specialists experienced in the latest technological developments has developed several products that require such extensive programming skills.  Our system includes databases that include the Holy Quran in different formats.  While Marketing and programming activities are carried out by the total staff - Jews, Christians and Muslims, The Holy Quran text and databases are handled strictly by Muslims. 

Again, Read~Verse staff is not engaged in teaching anyone any religion; Our Read~Verse staff makes the Holy Quran accessible on the internet the same way it is accessible in a printed format.

For your edification, Dr. Misbah Eldereiny, the founder of the Straight Way School in West Covina, California, invested over 10 years collecting, editing, and proof reading the entire Holy Koran (Quran) in its current digital form. His work is an astonishing life time achievement. Without his efforts, Read~Verse  (in development for over 15 years) would not have been possible. 


We wish to add that our diverse staff is dedicated to building world peace through education and learning for all.

Teaching any language to people whom their mother tongue is this language should be done by someone whose mother tongue is the same language. You don't bring a Chinese to teach Americans the English language !!!

Moreover, the method used by the paper use to design the course needs more explanation.


Read~Verse is not chartered to teach.  Our diverse staff of computer software specialists experienced in the latest technological developments has developed several products that require such extensive programming skills.  Yes, our system includes databases that include the Holy Quran in different formats.  However, while marketing and programming activities are carried out by the total staff - Jews, Christians and Muslims, The Holy Quran text and databases are handled strictly by Muslims.

Again, Read~Verse provides the internet tools for education.  We contend that American-born citizens can teach Egyptian-born citizens the English language.   Conversely, Egyptian born citizens can teach Arabic to American born citizens.  Mr. Elsayess has students in England, USA, Israel, Egypt and the Far East.  He is using the internet to teach students worldwide literally from his bedroom.  He is an instructor at the University of Phoenix and his education repertoire has different tools for helping his students.  These tools include “PC Anywhere” (for fixing programming errors), “Skype” (for oral conversation), and “Flash Movies” (seeing and doing).



The authors did not investigate other efforts in the area of eradication of illiteracy in Egypt. As a matter of fact there was a pilot project similar to the one mentioned in the paper and was presented at the AUC conference before.


We are not aware of a similar project.  Read~Verse provides effective, proven tools for education. This paper describes a software tool to help instructors deliver their teaching materials with more efficiency enabling them to free up more time for actual course instruction.    Read~Verse is willing to provide license to its software tools free of charge to help Egyptian authorities accelerate programs to eradicate illiteracy.





PC Comments:

This is not a research paper. It does not meet the basic criteria of a research paper. It is a description of an internet program which delivers content that can help in teaching Arabic language and Quran. The report does not contain any theoretical basis, or program design basis, or any comparisons with similar programs, or any indications based on a piece of research that shows its effectiveness on the intended audiences.


Read~Verse has internet tools for delivering education contents and it is addressing education problems globally.  This was never intended as a research paper.  Instead it is an explication of a breakthrough tool for teaching Arabic remotely through the Internet.



Author Comments:

The report needs to show the design elements, and the rationale behind the used design. It needs to show the theoretical basis and previous related research on similar programs that lead to the program development. What is needed also is evaluate the product on a sample of intended audiences and scientifically report its effectiveness.


Read~Verse has developed  Notepad (Arabic / English abacus) that can be used by instructors globally for composing lessons in Arabic or English without the need of installing Arabic software on a PC.   This is a new, cutting edge feature which to the best of our knowledge does not exist anywhere.   Read~Verse will make the software available at no charge for evaluation. 






Comments and feedback are welcome, and should be directed to:


Mahmoud Elsayess, President



Arnold Silverman, Vice President


Read~Verse Company

16182 Keats Circle

Westminster, CA 92683

Telephone (714) 376-4862