Touch Type Read and Spell

TTRS ARTICLE PICTURE 1 ttrs article picture 2 ttrs article picture 3TOUCH TYPE READ AND SPELL

                                                                                      by Christian Mercer

By 2000, we at Nelda had realised the advantages of using a programme to develop other skills as an alternative to struggling with pen and paper for children and adults with literacy difficulties.

We searched for something that would allow the user to produce readable and presentable work, and typing software was seen as that solution. We also needed the user to consolidate the acquired keyboard skills with literacy progression for both dyslexics and dyspraxics.

We chose Touch Type Read and Spell (TTRS) as the product to deliver this training. Although it has formed an essential part of our services, you do not have to be dyslexic or dyspraxic to gain something from it. You also don’t have to be a child either. Whilst some of those who have come to us and used TTRS have been as young as eight, our oldest trainee has been…..well, let’s just say they left middle age behind a while ago!

The aspect of TTRS that has most impressed us has been its ability to enhance reading and spelling abilities, as well as developing faster keyboard fingers. Not everybody who has a problem with their literacy is comfortable seeking tuition from somebody else, or even admitting that there is a problem. This package means, that learners of all ages can fill in the gaps of their literacy knowledge without embarrassment.

A sense of achievement in what you are doing is an important part of any activity. Although the training given by the programme is something that works over many sessions, learners can access their results at the end of each session and see how their progress has developed so far. TTRS can also enhance other areas of development, such as metacognition (ability to increase their learning skills), sensory integration (using your senses smoothly to carry out literacy tasks) and phonological awareness (recognizing and using the sounds produced during speech).

As the programme was very successful, we were able introduce it as a group activity within our base at the Tramway Offices of North Lancs Training Group (NLTG). The opportunity for developing groups elsewhere followed and TTRS workshops in two local schools began. A team that offers services to young offenders has also received training from us.

We have progressed using a line of projects starting with the creation of a workshop in which a pupil works at TTRS alongside an adult family member. This activity is Nelda’s Family-Learning Access Group (FLAG).

The FLAG Project

The adult who accompanies children during the FLAG project activities serves four functions:

Role-model for pupil.



Scaffolder (helps you go from one level of learning to the next).

As a nice bonus, these grown-up participants improved their own typing skills too.

Many families wanted to take part in the project but were unable to attend it after school, difficulties can arise when older pupils don’t always relish being in the same group as younger ones.

The family group is still in existence at St Wilfrid’s school and is available to families and schools. Details can be obtained by clicking here to go to this website’s contact page.

Nelda is offering sponsored provision of TTRS in schools. This consists of a two month trial licence for five pupils to use in school and at home.

We can also provide TTRS training for a teacher/support assistant/parent accompanied by a pupil. A group of parents may also be interested in forming a small group, consisting of five children with a parent mentor, at the same price. Please feel free to get in touch with us via details on this website’s contact page for further information.

After School Projects

In 2013, the decision was made to form two after-school groups at St Wilfred’s High School, Blackburn. This stage, however, had one crucial difference. Instead of family members, the pupils were supported by sixth-formers. Consisting of up to ten people, each of these groups then evolved to offer an enrichment programme for the sixth formers.

Both the school and Nelda contributed to different aspects of this partnership. St Wilfred’s provided access to its computers, mentors, and a member of staff. The Association supplied software licenses and expertise. Santander Foundation Trust have given funds to enable the group to continue next year.

In 2014, funding was provided by the Santander Foundation to cover a large proportion of the costs. In May this year, Mrs Katherine Wheatley (Bank Manager at Santander’s Blackburn Branch) handed the cheque to two pupils at a special presentation. She is shown in the above picture with Ryan Blackburn (sixth form mentor) and Riaz Seedat (Year 8) who were responsible for accepting it.

Throughout the year, pupils in this group have been presented with certificates and incentives at special breakfast ceremonies. They have all enjoyed these events, especially the breakfasts though.

Parents from St Wilfrid’s wishing to access the after school groups should either contact Nelda or Mrs Smith at St Wilfrid’s on 01254-604000, Ext 3 (Learning Support), (

Schools requiring further details of the sponsorship package should contact

  • Child and Adult both Concentrating Hard on TTRS
    Child and Adult both Concentrating Hard on TTRS
  • Receiving the Cheque at Santander. Back Row: Christine Haslem (Teaching Staff), Frances Mercer (Chairman), Yvonne Hindle (Teaching Staff). Front Row: Ryan Blackburn (Sixthth Form), Riaz Seedat (Year 8), Katherine Wheatley (Bank Manager).
    Receiving the Cheque at Santander. Back Row: Christine Haslem (Teaching Staff), Frances Mercer (Chairman), Yvonne Hindle (Teaching Staff). Front Row: Ryan Blackburn (Sixthth Form), Riaz Seedat (Year 8), Katherine Wheatley (Bank Manager).
  • Pupil and Sixth Form Mentor Working after School
    Pupil and Sixth Form Mentor Working after School
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