Children’s storytelling audio system tonies has commissioned research from the National Literacy Trust to help reach teachers and close the literacy gap by expanding access to audiobooks in schools and nurseries throughout the UK

tonies, the leading children’s storytelling audio system, has announced its Schools and Nurseries Education initiative, ‘Tonies for Teachers’, to support teachers and help children learn through the power of audio, with research commissioned from the National Literacy Trust.

Through the initiative, teachers will be offered a 25% discount on Toniebox starter sets so that school children across the country can benefit from the broad range of educational and inspirational content. tonies features a Toniebox audio player created for children from nursery to school age, offering an extensive range of stories, music and educational content. The Toniebox comes to life when paired with the fantastic collection of Tonies: beautiful, hand-painted figurines that contain the stimulating and engaging range of content that can be enjoyed by children for many years.

As part of the initiative, tonies worked with the National Literacy Trust charity to research the link between listening to audiobooks and increased vocabulary proficiency in children*. Almost all (95.6%) of children in the survey said they enjoy hearing stories read to them.

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Analysis by the National Literacy Trust found that 380,000 children in the UK do not own a book and without essential vocabulary and literacy skills being instilled at a young age, children are likely to be held back at every stage of life. Audio is increasingly being recognised by parents and education professionals as a tool that has the potential to close the literacy gap: with listening to audiobooks and music helping to improve literacy skills and vocabulary in an enjoyable, accessible way.

Having a Toniebox in the classroom has the ability to introduce children to an entire 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.

Included in the starter sets are Creative-Tonies, containing 90 minutes of ‘blank audio space’, enabling teachers to upload their own content for the 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 child-controlled nature of the Toniebox means information can be repeated as many times as is necessary for learning.

Pinky Laing, UK Partnerships at tonies comments: “Children have always been at the heart of everything we do at tonies. From its creation by two fathers to the child-led design, our mission has always been to help children listen and learn independently. 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.”

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.

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