Living / 7 October, 2021 / Ellie Thompson
The Toniebox is being introduced into classrooms up and down the country thanks to a brand new initiative called ‘Tonies for Teachers’.
Tonies partnered with the National Literacy Trust to share research that proves listening to audio increases vocabulary and expands the language of young children, building independence and self-esteem. Together, their aim is to help teachers close the literacy gap and expand access to audiobooks in schools and nurseries.
Teachers are able to claim a 25% discount on Toniebox Starter Sets so that school children across the country can benefit from a broad range of educational and inspirational content. Teachers should visit the Tonies Education page and fill in their details to redeem their unique discount code for 25% off a Tonies Starter Set.
Having a Toniebox in the classroom will introduce children to a world of stories and tales, building a bridge to an eventual love of words and reading that will set them up for life. The Toniebox can also act as another pair of hands in the classroom and can be a real help to teachers with pupils who learn at a slower pace or who may have special educational needs.
Peter Wright, Community Assistant Headteacher from Boxgrove Primary School says, “Teachers understand the importance of listening to, talking about and enjoying stories. With Toniebox, children can take control of storytime, allowing them to increase and improve their understanding, vocabulary and ideas within the classroom.”
Sharing her experience of working with tonies®, Mrs Ruth Lue-Quee, Educational Consultant for primary schools in the West Midlands and special needs teaching specialist, comments: “We have children in the class who are slower learners, or have special educational needs. The Toniebox helps with specific exercises and sometimes children take the Toniebox home to do the learning – they check it out like a library book.”
Miss Grant, Early Years Teacher at Granton Primary School comments: “As a teacher in Early Years, I read to the children every day, but the Toniebox has been such a benefit to have in class. I use a Creative-Tonie to invite children to complete weekly classroom challenges. I have also noticed how it’s developing their listening and attention skills, as it engages them so well. I like how it can also be cross-curricular: I sometimes put it in the Maths area with the counting songs Tonie and use a Creative-Tonie to record Maths challenges or questions on there. It’s so much better than using a computer, tablet or laptop, as it is more personal and they can use it independently.”
Analysis by the National Literacy Trust found that 380,000 children in the UK do not own a book. Without essential vocabulary and literacy skills being instilled at a young age, children are likely to be held back at every stage of life. Listening to audiobooks and music will help to improve literacy skills and vocabulary in an enjoyable, accessible way.
Emily Best, Knowledge and Research Manager at The National Literacy Trust, comments: “Our research shows that engagement with audiobooks can benefit children’s reading skills and enjoyment, as well as their mental wellbeing and emotional intelligence. During the first lockdown, more than half of children said listening to audiobooks increased their interest in reading and 2 in 5 said it made them more interested in writing. Boys were particularly likely to listen to audiobooks during this period. For children who struggle to decode words, audiobooks and podcasts provide a great alternative to books – children can still be immersed in a narrative, while building vocabulary and improving comprehension.”
Pinky Laing, UK Partnerships at tonies® comments: “Children have always been at the heart of everything we do at Tonies… Tonies is committed to helping children learn through the power and magic of storytelling and we are delighted to help support schools and nurseries across the UK with such an important education initiative. Our audio storytelling devices help to engage young minds, and we feel fortunate that we can help inspire the next generation to learn and develop their literacy skills.”
Built to withstand the inevitable bumps and tumbles from kids, the soft-padded Toniebox is an audio player that plays the songs and stories available in Tonies’ ever-expanding library of kids’ classics. The Toniebox comes to life via interchangeable kid-proof figurines called ‘Tonies’. There are a whole host of Tonies available for all ages. Choose from Disney favourites, popular fairytales and modern classics, to educational content surrounding science and dinosaurs and much more.
Tonies make it fun and simple for children to learn new words, fostering speech and language skills through the wonderful world of audio. Children can listen and learn at their own speed by simply popping a Tonie on top of the Toniebox to activate the audio and taking it off to pause it.
Included in the starter sets are Creative-Tonies, containing 90 minutes of ‘blank audio space’. Creative-Tonies give teachers the opportunity to upload their own content for children in their classroom, such as a daily challenge for the class. Teachers can set up small groups with an activity narrated onto a Creative-Tonie, and the user-friendly nature of the Toniebox means children can replay information as many times as is necessary for learning.
This initiative comes on the back of the recent announcement that tonies® partnered with the Book Trust and Waterstones Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell MBE’s ‘Life-changing Libraries’ project to gift Tonieboxes and Tonies to primary school libraries in underprivileged areas of England. The donation allowed children in the schools taking part to enjoy some of the nation’s favourite stories, such as Elmer, Peter Rabbit and How to Train Your Dragon in audio form.
For further details on tonies® Schools and Education initiative, ‘Tonies for Teachers‘ – please visit https://tonies.com/en-gb/tonies-for-teachers/