FamilyWorld Book Day – Building Confident Readers with tonies

World Book Day – Building Confident Readers with tonies


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As we look forward to celebrating World Book Day 2023, tonies® are helping to build confident readers through the magic of audiobooks. With an ever-growing Tonies library packed with popular childhood classics, the tonies collection brings stories to life and sparks a lifelong love of literature in all its forms.  So much so, over 1 billion minutes of audio were listened to on Tonieboxes in the UK in 2022! 

For those who are yet to experience the joy of the tonies range, the Toniebox is a magical, musical storybox built for children from nursery to school age, and beyond. It is brought to life with the Tonie range of hand painted characters, which are preloaded with story, music and educational content, and simply popped on top of the Toniebox for the audio adventure to begin. Celebrated authors include Julia Donaldson, Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton, Michael Rosen and Beatrix Potter, and there’s lots of timeless early years classics, including Spot the DogGiraffes Can’t Dance and Thomas & Friends. There are also educational titles from National Geographic, and Horrible Histories too.

Audio platforms are a fantastic literature resource for children of all ages and have been gaining increasing popularity in recent years.  Not only are tonies® audiobooks a wonderful way to spark an interest in literature, but they also play an important role in the first steps of helping young children learn to read.  It all begins with the spoken word and the acquisition of language.  

For pre-reading children, tonies audiobooks accelerate their exposure to a wide and interesting vocabulary, helping to improve speech – in a recent survey, 92% of parents agreed that the Toniebox supported their child’s speech development.

“Good early language skills are crucial for children’s futures: Early spoken language skills are the most significant predictor of literacy skills at age 11. One in four (23%) children who struggle with language at age five do not reach the expected standard in English at the end of primary school, compared with just 1 in 25 (4%) children who had good language skills at age five.” 

Waldfogel, J. (2012) Social Mobility Summit, The Sutton Trust, Save the Children 2015

tonies is also very beneficial for children with speech delays or SEN barriers slowing their acquisition of language skills.  As Dr Judith Brown, Head of Evidence and Research at the National Autistic Society, says: “Autistic children have differences in the way they communicate. Some autistic children don’t develop language in the same way as children who are not autistic and may not talk at the age expected by parents and professionals. For an autistic child to communicate effectively they must feel relaxed. Using audio platforms may have a calming effect for some autistic children and if they learn to use them independently, it can give them control over their environment. Active listening is the first stage of language development and can benefit any child.”

Sarah Lopes is one of many tonies customers who has found the Toniebox incredibly helpful for her 5-year-old autistic son: 

“Spencer learns his language through chunks and scripts and a lot of repeating what he hears. The Toniebox has helped his speech and language so much! He can use the copied language in his day-to-day life, and it’s helped him to read the books that go along with the Tonie characters. His speech is so clear now and we are able to understand what he is saying. We are so excited with how much it has helped him with this part of his autism.”

As children discover their favourite Tonie stories, they can take the next step in learning to read as they make the ‘decoding’ connection between the spoken and written word, whilst listening to the Toniebox and reading the accompanying storybook in tangent.  The auditory pauses, emphasis and tone of the narrator are incredibly beneficialfor teaching children the purpose and function of punctuation, such as full stops and commas, while also relaying emotion which is not so easily achievable with text alone.  

Factual books are an important source of educational information for children, but not all children are visual learners.  Auditory learners make up about 30% of the population and they remember information better when it’s delivered through sound or speech rather than written form.  For these children, tonies® National Geographic and Horrible Histories Tonie ranges help bridge the learning style divide.  

Additionally, there’s an ever-changing free library of educational audio content on the ‘mytonies’ app.  There are further learning resources from National Geographic and Horrible Histories, plus a full catalogue of free content from tonies educational partner Twinkl – the UK’s leading educational resources platform, which can be downloaded onto the Creative-Tonie that comes with every Toniebox Starter Set.  Twinkl have also produced a useful parents’ guide to listening and reading: Read here

“The first step to literacy is always listening. Tonies not only increases children’s vocabulary by teaching children what the language sounds like and what words mean, but also ignites their imagination and enjoyment of storytelling by listening to their favourite stories.” Laura Hardwick, Early Years Product Manager, Twinkl

The tonies collection – from the softly padded Toniebox, to the extensive selection of appealing Tonie stories – is the perfect range to entice even the most reluctant of readers to step into the story time sphere and begin to learn to read without realising. tonies, the leading audio platform, offers children who can formulate a sentence, but are unable to write yet, a playful path into early literacy.

For children who may not be read to regularly at home due to literacy issues with parents, or where English is not their parents’ native tongue, the Tonie story time collections enable them to enjoy the same stories as their classroom peers at home, whilst developing their English vocabulary for better long-term educational outcomes at school.  

As children, parents and educators across the UK and Ireland excitedly prepare for World Book Day, let’s celebrate the joy of books in all their forms.  The Toniebox’s instinctively easy controls allow children to listen to stories independently, making story time accessible whenever they want.  Simply turn it on, place a Tonie on top, control the volume and skip tracks by tapping or tilting the Toniebox, and let the audio story adventure begin!  It’s almost indestructible and has a long-lasting battery that allows for up to seven hours of continuous play, meaning stories can be enjoyed wherever they are!  Happy World Book Day 2023!  

tonies have recently launched their new reading hub for parents here  

Andrew Edney
Andrew Edney
I am the owner and editor of this site. I have been interested in gadgets and tech since I was a little kid. I have also written a number of books on various tech subjects. I also blog for The Huffington Post and for FHM. And I am honoured to be a Microsoft MVP since January 2008 - again this year as an Xbox MVP.

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