An enterprising group of Hamilton Academy students is hoping to go national with an innovative reading aid developed to help children with dyslexia.
The Year 10 students came up with the idea for the Easy Reader after seeing other students who lacked confidence in reading.
Student Tasneem Rafik, managing director of the company set up by the students, said, “It was clear that there was a gap in the market, so we created a product to help children address this issue from a young age.”
She added, “Our main aim was to help as many students as possible, but after we received such positive feedback, we want to take this product much further, across our city and even nationally.”
The group of 15 students set up their company, Companion, and developed the product with the supp
ort of their business teacher Vikesh Patel and the charity Young Enterprise.
They have already fulfilled orders from primary schools around Leicester and have contacted the National Literacy Trust about the potential of the product.
“We’ve been running a business enterprise group at the school for the last few years, but this is the most innovative idea I’ve seen yet,” said Mr Patel.
“It’s a great product. The students have done everything from research and product design, to marketing, to learning to operate the 3D printer in order to make the units,” he said.
The Hamilton students attended a trade fair at Beaumont Leys Shopping Centre in March where they sold more than 60 units in a few hours and even received the approval of businesswoman Rosemary Conley.
“Rosemary Conley visited our trade stand and told us that she thought our product has lots and lots of potential,” said Tasneem.
At the trade fair, which was also the local area final for the Young Enterprise schools competition, Hamilton students won the awards for Best Customer Service and Most Innovative Product and were named overall winner.
This means they advance to the county level Young Enterprise competition on 7 May and if successful, the national final in London in June.
Mr Patel said, “This entire process is really valuable for the students. It teaches useful skills in communication, leadership and working as a team. Every individual in the team has improved their confidence and learned skills they can use in their future lives.”
Year 10 student Yahia Abdelkader said, “I have realised how hard it is to work in a business and how listening, communication, and aiming for compromise is extremely important.”
Student Phoebe Timms added, “Resilience is definitely one of the most important things to run a successful business.”
The Easy Reader is a reading aid with an adjustable cover that controls the sections of text that can be viewed at once. This allows the user to focus on a single line of text and absorb more of the material they’re reading. While it is especially helpful for dyslexia sufferers, it can be helpful to anyone who experiences difficulty with reading.
To find out more about the Easy Reader visit www.hamilton-rmet.org.uk/companion.