Press & News

Prisoner has taught almost 100 fellow inmates to read

A prisoner is bringing hope of a better life to fellow inmates by helping them learn to read and write. In the three years and six months that Mick Greenberry, 56, has been at Lewes Prison he has taught 96 inmates to read under a programme drawn up by charity The Shannon Trust. Recently, guards, prisoners and charity workers gathered at a recreation room to watch as he was given an award. 

According to Government statistics about 48 per cent of adult prisoners in jails across Britain have no useful literacy skills and a further 18 per cent have a reading age of eight years or under. The programme has been running at Lewes for almost four years and gives prisoners resources to teach each other how to read and write. It costs very little to run and most students are able to read and write after three to six months. 

Mr Greenberry, a former sergeant with the Grenadier Guards, has been teaching for two and a half years.  He said: “I started just for something to do – I didn’t want to vegetate in here.  Some prisoners are so scared when they come here they won’t come out of their cells.  They just cow down and end up staying in a closed room for most of the time.  You see an incredible change when they learn to read.  My method of teaching may not be very politically correct but it works”.  

Under the Shannon Trust’s Toe by Toe programme, mentors spend up to 20 minutes teaching students to read, at least five times every week.  Mr Greenberry has seen students go from relying on cellmates to read letters from loved ones, to being able to escape the daily grind of prison life through books and newspapers. 

Prison governor Eoin McLennan-Murray said one of Mr Greenberry’s students had been a man of 76 years who had written home for the first time on his 50th wedding anniversary. 

He said: “A number of prisoners have difficulties with literacy. Some can hardly read or write at all. “Once they learn to read they realise there are other positive changes they can make to improving themselves and their lives.  “It opens up the possibility of doing something other than crime.”  He gave Mr Greenberry a certificate for his work and a £25 voucher to spend on supplies, while Christopher Morgan of The Shannon Trust gave him two books: ‘Invisible Crying Tree’ and ‘The Assassin’s Cloak’

Posted in Prisons

Tony made it, but what about the rest?

Article published in TES Magazine on 22 April, 2005

TES symbol

Tony is a tall, well-built young man in his early 20s with a pleasant smile and a sunny disposition. He works with his father as a painter and decorator and appears to be doing very well. He’s courting, as they say in these parts and has just bought his first house. I know him because I taught him to read. He came to me a couple of years ago and it was obvious that he was severely dyslexic.

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Posted in Schools

An affordable solution to prisoner illiteracy

Article published in the Longford Magazine.

Toe by Toe was featured in the Longford Magazine in an article about prisoner literacy, or lack of it. The Shannon Trust works with literate prisoners to become reading coaches, using the Toe by Toe manual as an affordable solution to prisoner illiteracy.

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Posted in Press, Prisons

Turning over a new leaf

Article published by The Telegraph Magazine.

Article is about the pioneering scheme used in prisons, through which inmates teach fellow inmates to read – see below. 􏰓􏰕

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Posted in Press, Prisons

The Secret Millionaire in prison payouts

A millionaire businessman gave away thousands of pounds of his own money when he visited a young offenders institution in South Staffordshire as part of a TV documentary.

Computer entrepreneur Piers Linney also offered to personally “mentor” one inmate at Brinsford Young Offenders Institution upon release as part of Channel 4 show, The Secret Millionaire.

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Posted in Press, Prisons

Sixth Form Students Aid Younger Readers

Sixth formers at Shebbear College have been offering a helping hand to their younger counterparts.  The older students have been giving up their free time to support young, improving readers in a new initiative by the Learning Support Department.

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Posted in Press, Schools

Toe by Toe has worldwide recognition

Article published in the Listener in New Zealand

Developed in Britain, the Toe by Toe manual has unlocked the mystery of reading for thousands of people worldwide. It has been used successfully in Linwood College, New Zealand, and the Listener published a 4 page article.

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Posted in Press, Schools

Success in prisons using Toe by Toe

The Shannon Trust works with literate prisoners to become reading coaches, using the Toe by Toe manual as an affordable solution to prisoner illiteracy. One such prisoner, Mick Greenberry, was given an award by the Trust for teaching 96 fellow prisoners to read and write.

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Posted in Press, Prisons

Toe by Toe in Literacy Today

Article featured in Literacy Today

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Posted in Community, Press

Making sure kids can read

When Professor Tommy MacKay was put in charge of schools in West Dunbartonshire, he abolished illiteracy completely – and it only took half an hour.

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Posted in Community, Press, Schools