In 1991: The original WordsWorth Literacy Programme© was created by Rita Treacy for children with “Specific Learning Difficulties (SLDs)”. In this era before low cost PC’s and suitable internet access, it was only available on a client / consultant basis through a Private Speech & Language Therapy (SLT) Service in Ireland.
Over the last 20 years, thousands of students with reading and spelling difficulties successfully completed the programme. There is results-based evidence available that was compiled by statisticians in the Educational Research Centre in Dublin, supported by many testimonials to substantiate the efficacy of the programme.
The literacy skills of the students improved significantly after using the programme and their school results were consistent with their academic potential and often beyond expectation. This in turn also boosted their self confidence.
2009: WordsWorth Learning Limited was set up to create a new digital version of the original paper based programme and to replicate how it was delivered in the private SLT service. The prime objective was to make it more readily available and affordable to parents, teachers and learning support staff.
2011: The new online program now called WordsWorthLearning© was launched. To make it easier to access, it was designed for a PC and internet browser e.g. safari, chrome or Internet Explorer. It would be used in class with a teacher or at home (with a parent to facilitate) providing an online literacy programme to improve reading and spelling. It could also be used by a teacher, child and parent working in collaboration.
2012: The online PC version was enhanced to make it work on an iPad (Tablet). Although it did also work on some android Tablet devices, we were working towards making it available across more platforms.
2015: The program was tested in a mainstream school in Greystones, Ireland using the "Flipped Classroom" model. The schoolteacher set the tutorials and exercises to be done online at home under the supervision of a parent/guardian. The "homework" was done next day in class in a group setting where the teacher could devote more time to each of the pupils. The results were impressive where all the children participating substantially improved their reading and/or spelling in one school term.
About the founders
Rita Treacy – Co-Founder/Director
When I was 18 years of age and in my 1st year at Trinity College Dublin, I was informed that I was Dyslexic. My first reaction was to question what it meant and I was flabbergasted to learn that there was no cure. Over time, I learned that it was a specific learning disorder that took on many guises, labels and stigmas. It certainly caused a “reluctance” to be put in a position that would expose the problem and as a consequence my “avoidant behaviours” were often misinterpreted. Frequently the literacy component is not identified and, in my case, attending an all Irish secondary school certainly compounded the problem.
My own experience of the problem included e.g. word finding difficulties, reading accuracy and comprehension problems, spelling and written expression difficulties and like others before me, I managed to struggle my way through tertiary education. However, by adopting and more importantly by developing many learning strategies along the way, I qualified with a BSc. (Hons) Degree in Remedial Linguistics i.e. Speech & Language Therapy (SLT). This sparked the beginning of my quest to find a logical intervention for a very common and worldwide problem.
First-hand experience of dyslexia inspired me to create WordsWorthLearning© and working with a varied child and adolescent caseload during my 10 years as Principal SLT in Lucena Clinic - Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Services (Dublin), and this coupled with my own “learning strategies” certainly provided the impetus and means to do this.
The original programme has been used very successfully in my Private Practice for many years and in 2009 I decided to create a digital version to make it more affordable, available and inclusive via the internet. It is now being used to improve reading and spelling skills, in schools and also by parents at home and even the two in collaboration. It is an online program for children that are failing at school and under-achieving, to help them reach their true academic potential.
David Ross – Co-Founder/Director
For more than 30 years, I have worked in the field of information technology (IT), starting in an era when mainframe computers and data storage peripherals covered the size of a tennis court. Over that period I held senior management responsibility for Resource & Capacity Planning for BT's IT asset base, managed joint IT/ICT projects & budgets involving IBM, Accenture, Cap Gemini, Microsoft, Oracle, KPMG, Eircom. Also EU/ICT Consultancy work involving large projects across Europe (and USA) in a variety of sectors such as e-Learning, Education/Training, e-Government, Judiciary, Agriculture, Legal and Regulatory.
Searching for a new challenge, I was introduced to the exceptional work that Rita Treacy is involved with as a Speech & Language Therapist specializing in Dyslexia and other specific learning disorders. My background helped shape the notion of using digital convergence with faster broadband, video podcasting and interactive graphics to radically change how we could offer a programme to make the cost of delivery more affordable. In WordsWorthLearning©, we have now captured the ground breaking work done by Rita Treacy in her 1:1 private practice and converted it into an interactive web application.