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About Us

Who Funded the Game?

The game has been funded by the Usborne Foundation, a charitable fund set up four years ago by Peter Usborne and his children, Nicola and Martin, to support initiatives to develop early literacy.


Peter Usborne is the founder and Managing Director of Usborne Publishing, one of the world’s leading children’s book publishing companies and Children’s Publisher of the Year 2012. He was previously one of the founders of the magazine Private Eye, and was recently awarded an MBE for services to publishing.

Nicola Usborne worked as a Vice President for Scholastic Inc in New York, developing educational and consumer games (including the New York Times bestselling transmedia series “The 39 clues”).


Martin Usborne is a photographer who has researched gaming extensively for TV programme development.


Who Made the Game?

The game has been made by a talented group of cross-platform producers, designers and developers:

Berbank Green and Jonathan Skuse (Popleaf): Lead Game Design and Development
Jon and Berbank are leading UK games designers with over 25 years of combined game design experience and have worked on award-winning and bestselling titles such as Runescape; Sims 2 (mobile); Final Fantasy: Dirge of Cerberus; Need for Speed and the Creatures series.
www.popleaf.com


Antonio Gould: Producer
Antonio is a producer with 15 years’ experience in creating digital content. He has a specialism in education and gaming. He’s worked on digital education projects for a wide range of organisations and companies including the BBC, Channel 4, The Open University and Nickelodeon.
Antonio's LinkedIn


Margaret Robertson (Hide&Seek): Consultant Games Designer (Game 1)
Margaret is an award-winning games designer who helped to stitch together the education and gaming requirements of the game. A top-rated speaker on the principles and philosophies behind game design, her clients include EA, Sony, Channel 4, GameCity, Free Radical Design, Kuju and the Rank Group.
www.hideandseek.net

Rich Wake and Chris Garbutt: Artwork and Animation
Rich and Chris were responsible for making the game look beautiful!
www.richwake.com (c/o Claire Meikeljohn / New Division)
visualphooey.blogspot.com (c/o Michelle Danso / Arena Illustration)

Voices: Simon Farnaby
Simon is a BBC Horrible Histories regular, and has appeared in The Mighty Boosh, as well as starring in the film The Bunny and the Bull.
www.earachevoices.com

Script (Game 1): Maurice Suckling and Berbank Green
mauricesuckling.com

Script (Game 2): Berbank Green
Sound Recordist: Ed de Lacy / Somethin' Else
www.somethinelse.com

Script (Game 3): Berbank Green


Educational Advisors
This team have been responsible for making sure that the game fulfils its educational requirements.

Alison Kelly is Principal Lecturer in English Education at the University of Roehampton, London, teaching all aspects of literacy with expertise in the effective teaching of systematic synthetic phonics. She was previously a primary school teacher for many years, and is co-author and editor of many bestselling textbooks on reading and writing in the primary school classroom.

Angela Colvert is Senior Lecturer in English Education at the University of Roehampton, London with particular expertise in using digital games to develop children’s literacy. She is currently engaged in PhD research into alternate reality games (ARGs) in education, at the Institute of Education. As well as publishing her findings, she has presented these at national and international conferences. Current research interests include games, media education and uses of technology in the primary classroom.


Mairi Mackinnon (Usborne Publishing)
Mairi Mackinnon has lived and worked in the UK, France, Italy and Spain as a translator, teacher, writer and editor. She has written over forty books for Usborne Publishing, including the award-winning Very First Reading series.

Marketing and Community Managment
Dannie Price is responsible for the marketing and community management at Teach Your Monster to Read. She is responsible for putting together a marketing strategy and promoting the game across different marketing channels, attending teacher conferences, communicating with our audience, answering queries and feedback and gaining insight into how we can improve the game and the user experience for everyone.

An experienced marketer and a lover of books, Dannie has worked on marketing campaigns for well respected publishers and arts institutions such as Oxford University Press, Faber & Faber and the Royal Institute of British Architects.


Design, Development and Support

Back End Development
Factory3

Web and marketing material design
Dean Vipond

Testers
Huge thanks to the following schools and parents who tested the game for us in its initial stages:

Matt Rogers @ Snowsfield Primary School, London
Kings School, Ely, Cambridgeshire
Cippenham Primary School, Slough
Rosendale Primary School, West Dulwich
Water Leys Primary School, Leicestershire.
Horndean Primary School, Hampshire
Oakdale Infants School, Redbridge
Parent testers: Sarah Fox, Dean Vipond, Katie Beecroft, Sara Shawwa, Dan and Ainslie Williams, Carl and Jo Homer, Scarlett Parker, Faith Buck, Ola Szmidt, Emma MacBeth.

And finally...
We couldn't have done it without the support of a wider team of talented people.
Supporting Animation: Kwok Fung Lam www.kwokfunglam.com
Education / IT consultant. Tom Barrett www.notosh.com
Special thanks: Dave Houston, Dawn Hallybone, Miles Berry, Tim Rylands, Julia Rutherford Bate (Waterleys Primary School), Lizzie Ostrom, Jodie Collins.

I was stunned to see how much they enjoyed this. It blew me away.

Matt Lovegrove, Cippenham Primary School

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Why Play?

  • Covers letters and sounds to reading full sentences.
  • Designed in collaboration with leading academics.
  • Computer version is 100% free.

FAQ

Why is the computer version free?

The game has been funded by the Usborne Foundation, a charity set up to support initiatives to develop early literacy.

Our mission is to help as many children learn to read as possible. The computer version is 100% free and we put profits from the app back into the Usborne Foundation, to continue to create new and exciting ways for children to learn.

The charity was founded by Peter Usborne MBE and his children, Nicola and Publishing, one of the world’s leading children’s book publishing companies and Children’s Publisher of the Year 2012. He was previously one of the founders of the magazine Private Eye.

What age is it for?

The game is for children in the first stages of learning to read, or for older children who need a bit more practice. Read more details about the three games.

How do children learn from the game?

The game takes children on a magical journey, meeting colourful characters along the way and collecting fantastic rewards. When children are engaged, they’re motivated to learn.

As they progress, they rehearse a range of essential reading skills; matching letters to sounds, blending, segmenting, tricky words and reading full sentences.

Find out exactly what the game covers.

Will it work on my device?

The game runs on any normal laptop or desktop computer (including Apple Macs) and the app works on iPhone, iPad, Android and Kindle tablets.

Who are The Usborne Foundation?

Peter Usborne is the founder and Managing Director of Usborne Publishing, one of the world’s leading children’s book publishing companies and Children’s Publisher of the Year 2012. He was previously one of the founders of the magazine Private Eye, and was recently awarded an MBE for services to publishing.

Testimonials

"I was stunned to see how much they enjoyed this. It blew me away."

Matt Lovegrove,
Cippenham Primary School

"The kids absolutely love this game - and they're learning!"

John Hole,
Wray Common Primary School

"This is a fun and engaging way to help your child learn to read. My son warmed to the game quickly and didn't want to stop playing it!"

Sarah Fox,
mum to Leon aged 5

This is a fun and engaging way to help your child learn to read. My son warmed to the game quickly and didn't want to stop playing it!

Sarah Fox, mum to Leon aged 5

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