Easyread is a system designed by someone who knows how it feels to struggle with reading
Hi, my name is David Morgan. I am the founder and CEO of David Morgan Education. The story of the company starts with me when I was about 5 and I was not learning to read.
I have three strong early childhood memories:
- Being knocked over by a wave beside my mother (without her realising I was under water).
- Tricycling around my grandparents’ courtyard singing “nana, dink, dink”.
- My mother’s face as she tried to help me learn to read.
You remember times which are either very happy (like eating a banana at your grandparents) or very unhappy, like almost drowning. You can guess where the learning to read experience sat for me.
My reading and writing got good enough for me to do Engineering at university and then I forgot about it until teaching my own sons to read in the 90’s. Wow, that was hard! What should have been a fun time on the sofa together was full of frustration and stress for the three of us. I couldn’t understand why it was so hard and was much less patient than my mother!
Then in 1999 I helped set up a charity that gets prison inmates to teach each other to read. Two thirds of offenders have very low literacy rates, but one third can read well and we got those ones helping their fellow inmates. The charity is called The Shannon Trust and it now has the most coverage of any prison charity in the UK, with thousands of inmates learning to read every year.
What interested me was that they were learning to read quite fast. Much faster than me!
An engineer’s brain and a literacy puzzle
So why did they not learn to read first time around? As an engineer, these puzzles are irresistible. So I started exploring ideas and testing them in the local schools. By around 2004 we had the idea of Trainertext and it was working well. I kept testing it until 2008 when I sold my furniture business and started Oxford Learning Solutions, which became David Morgan Education in 2017.
Since then, we have kept refining the process and learned all sorts of different ways that individual learners can have difficulties. We have dived deep into the neurology of the brain, to understand the neural mechanisms of reading and to understand how the brain likes to learn.
It has been years of R & D. All along we have been using a scientific approach of observation-theory-test to build stronger and stronger results. Because of that we can now teach pretty much anyone to read. You can see the sort of results that are possible from the independent research done by the Open University in the UK.
Our adaptive, tailored reading system
You can now access a complete set of integrated materials that will help anyone learn to read in short daily sessions online.
The system is adaptive and so it observes the performance of each learner with different subskills for reading and applies help where it is needed. And we aim to entertain as we teach and support each learner.
We are also building a team steadily, to spread the word on Trainertext. We currently deliver a learn-to-read process over the internet, using a mix of reading materials and games which all use our Trainertext presentation of the text, but we are diversifying into tutoring as well. So you can access Trainertext in different ways.
We also have a system for training and supporting both teachers and parents.
I am confident that this combination is the most effective in the world. Which is why we can guarantee the outcome. I don’t think you will find any competitor or local expert who will agree to do the same, because the outcome is normally so uncertain.
When we are working closely with someone we can get a good result pretty much every time. We are not aware of any learner on our home system who has not had a good outcome in the last 12 months. Many are now in the top half of their class for reading.
Our future plans
Our aim over the next 5 years is to make Trainertext the way all children learn to read. We also aim to make it available to any adult who wants to have another go.
So growth is now the aim of the game for us. We are open to any collaboration and we are building a network of local tutors and consultants who can help schools, parents and employers get this crucial part of life right for everyone, wherever they are in the world.
Our company structure
We operate as a social enterprise. We have been almost completely self-funded so far (although the UK government gave us a grant in 2015-16 to help development of a new mobile phone app). Our social aims sit alongside our financial aim to be a strong, growing business. As a social enterprise we choose not to return more than 5% of turnover to our shareholders, who have funded our ongoing development. Any other surplus income is ploughed back into our social aims, mainly through the development of new learning solutions or through supporting learners financially.