A mum-of-two from Wedmore was yesterday celebrating the launch of her first children’s book that she claims could transform the way some children learn to read.
Michele Carter-Buxton, 43, has developed a number of interactive, kinesthetic learning aids working with the phonics system which has been shown to ‘significantly improve’ youngsters’ literacy skills.
Official figures show that one in five 11-year-olds leaves primary school without having attained the literacy skills expected for their age.
Michele believes that for many of these children, the damage is done in the early years. Speaking yesterday, she explained that the secret could be in simply reading with your child from day one.
Michele was advised herself as a young mum, to lie with your newborn and share stories. She took this advice to heart and believes that is the reason why her son is such a good reader now.
“Even if it’s only a black-and white cloth book, it can still have the power to encourage the love of books from the start of life.”
Speaking of her concept, she added: “Many children, especially boys, are not suited to rigid learning but benefit from a more ‘play-oriented’, physical approach.”
In response to this, Michele launched the “Letter Roads” concept in 2002 as a method to help her own son, now 11, learn the alphabet.
Through her company Happy Pegs Ltd, she designed and manufactured sets of 26 large floor mats, on which the letters of the alphabet are drawn as roads, surrounded by pictures with the correct phonic association.
Using these, young children drive toy cars around the letters which encourages play and physical movement making learning the alphabet and letter-sounds fun.
The Letter Roads sets and the companion product Number Roads, have gone on to become Happy Pegs Ltd’s biggest selling educational products and are now in use in over 1000 nurseries and schools nationwide.
Their success led to the creation of the range of illustrated Letter Roads books, the first of which – “Marti Follows the Road to Egypt” – was published by Happy Pegs Ltd in September.
The book tells the story of Marti, an alien who has come to Earth in search of his lost friend. Children can follow the road page-by-page as the story unfolds, maintaining the original Letter Roads concept.
Michele’s books have proven to aid the development of literacy skills, hand-eye co-ordination and letter recognition, as well as introducing a geographic and cultural element.
Sheila George, a teacher, said: “I have just read Marti Follows the Road to Egypt. Great book, full of information about Egypt too! Let us know when Marti has come back from France!”
“After the great success of the Letter Roads sets, I was eager to move the idea forward and introduce the product in book form” Michele said.
“To know that these products helped my family so much made me want to share them with anyone else who may be struggling out there.”
Marti Follows the Road to Egypt is now available priced £4.99. Orders can be placed on the website: www.letterroads.com
For interviews, complimentary sample copies and high-res images, contact Laura Mackie on 0117 9084630 or email email@example.com