Keda Cowling, the creator of the acclaimed reading manual Toe by Toe has been announced as the winner of the Sue Ryder Yorkshire Women of Achievement Award for Education at a prestigious ceremony at the Royal Armouries in Leeds. As a pioneer in education, the Bradford-based author is recognised for her groundbreaking work that transformed the lives of thousands of people across the world.
The former school teacher developed a successful formula to teach children and adults to read, based on her 25 years of classroom experience. Her reading manual for teachers and parents has met with unprecedented success - with spectacular results even for people with Dyslexia.
Bradford College Dyslexia Tutor Anna Porter said: “Some Bradford College students have followed Keda’s programme with considerable success and lasting results. I am pleased she has won this award and for her contribution to raising the profile of this hidden disability.”
Rita Beckton attended the Sue Ryder Yorkshire Women of Achievement Awards Ceremony, accompanied by daughter Rachel Beckton. Speaking with great passion about the book that had changed her Autistic son’s life, mother of two Rita Beckton said: “My 8 year old son could hardly read when we started the book. It took us a year to complete. By the time he’d reached the age of 9, he’d gone from reading ‘pig’, ‘cat’ and ‘dog’ to words such as ‘pneumonia’ and ‘psychokinetic’. Before he started Toe By Toe he couldn’t sit his first level of SATS because he was upgradable. He caught up with his studies and is now 18 and is planning to go to university to study Politics. The book changed my son’s life. If it wasn’t for Keda’s book I don’t think he would be going on to study for his degree.”
Former Bradford College PGCE student teacher, Edward Vickerman welcomed Keda Cowlings award for ‘Yorkshire Woman of Achievement’ as Dyslexia is a subject close to his heart. Edward was told he would never make it as a teacher because of his Dyslexia. Bradford College tutors, Joanne Courtney and Jill Powell recognised his potential and accepted him on the PGCE course at Bradford College. Edward has since gone on to scoop the national ‘Outstanding Teacher of the Year 2009’ Award.
Dr Adam Hannah, Chairman of Dyslexia Ayrshire said: “It is hard to over-emphasize the contribution her unique system has made to society. It has restored life-chances to generations of young people, allowing them to become literate, and through that, reach their potential.”
The book has also been recently featured in the hit Channel 4 TV series ‘The Secret Millionaire’. Millionaire Piers Linney, joint Chief Executive of a communications and IT consultancy, went undercover in a prison for young offenders. Piers discovered how the Toe By Toe system had been used with spectacular results to help young offenders that were previously illiterate learn to read.
Following the broadcasting of the programme, Piers Linney was quoted as saying, “The show also re-affirmed my belief that individuals that have faced adversity or made mistakes should never be written off by the system or society.”
Speaking at the memorable award ceremony, Author Keda Cowling said: “Thank you for this award and to all those who have voted for me. This is a great honour for me. I have devoted my life to teaching people and I cannot tell you how gratifying it is for me to know that my life’s work is helping people to read all across the world”