Learning to read and enjoying the art of storytelling is easier with Total Words specialist books, says the educational psychologist who created them.
Allyson Caseley, who co-founded the company with her artist-designer daughter Kiri Mellalieu, said they wanted to create a new way of learning to help children read.
She says: “Reading for meaning rather than just saying words out loud is so more effective for learning. It’s about connecting to meaningful content that children can talk about, so they can describe what they have done in a reading lesson.”
Total Words books have word counts so children can track and measure their progress – and tell friends and family about how well they are getting on.
Allyson says: “Books that have words counts also serve multiple purposes – they are motivating for student, they show clear progress for teachers and the focus is on development rather than failure.”
The online books can be read on a tablet or device, at home and school.
Co-founder Kiri adds: “The Total Words philosophy is that knowledge shouldn’t be a privilege. “Classroom learning content can easily be shared at home, and technology reduces barriers to learning.”
“We’ve all had to learn from the pandemic,” says Kiri. “Two things that’s come out are that we need more accessible online reading resources, and we need resources that children can share at home and at school.
“Total Words marries cutting-edge technology with design-for-learning book features that help children get passionate about their reading and learning.”
Allyson Caseley said that learning to read young had a huge impact on your life prospects.
“Early intervention is key,” stresses Allyson. “If you don’t experience reading as being meaningful as a child, it’s easy to give up on it and lose interest in reading as you get older.”
“This can lead to serious disadvantages in adulthood and the stats speak for themselves – 16% of UK adults have skills at the lowest end of literacy and 30% of the workforce can’t read beyond primary school level. Meanwhile 50% of UK prisoners are illiterate.”
“We’re pushing the idea that reading is access to knowledge – it’s social connection, it’s at the heart of everything.”
“Poor reading skills cost the UK economy an estimated £81 billion a year due to lost wages.”