Welcome to Roy the zebra
What can I find on this website?
2007 Survey and Results
Creating Interactive Content for Education
Thank you for taking the time to visit the RTZ reading website. The site is home to a package of interactive games, stories and resources that have been developed to help emerging readers learn to read. The site can be used at school or at home. It's one of the most comprehensive interactive literacy resources on the net that is freely accessible... no area of the site is password protected. Recently, we have introduced a range of reading software that is sold to support the free content of the website. You will find some demos of the software within the reading games' pages.
RTZ also aims to make life easier for educators who teach reading skills. We hope you enjoy the site's simplicity, fun characters and logical structure. You'll never be more than 3 clicks (...if that!) away from what you need.
Recently over 360 educators assessed the effectiveness of the resources on www.roythezebra.com - 100% of the respondents agreed that RTZ had helped their pupils become better readers, 100% agreed that the site made reading fun and 100% said that they would use RTZ in the future. You can view the survey results here...
Please be aware that the site isn't supported by grants or any other funding. It's subsidised by Tim Bowerbank (passionate about literacy, creativity and ICT) and any funding raised through sales of the software, and the Google ads.
1. Fun Interactive Reading Games that can be used on your interactive whiteboard or computers. The games focus on all aspects of teaching early literacy covering the following subject areas:
- Capital letters
- Full stops
- Words that rhyme
- High frequency words
- Alphabetical order
- Question marks
- Singular or plural
- Long vowel phonemes
- Does it make sense?
- Words within words
- Double consonants
2. The Original RTZ Guided Reading Story
A delightful nine part story about Roy the zebra's daring escape from the worst zoo in the world and his search for his herd. The story comes complete with:
- Literacy worksheets
- Before reading discussion sheets
- After reading discussion sheets
3. Lesson Plans
Each interactive literacy game comes complete with a lesson plan that gives practical step-by-step guidance on how to use the games in the classroom and in computer suites. The lesson plans are packed full of literacy resources that can be printed. Each resource is designed to support the teaching of literacy and to make the educator's life easier (no more late nights creating extra resources!!).
4. Reading Software
A range of reading software has been introduced recently. This is sold and money raised from the software helps to support the free content that you find on the website plus also supports the on-going development to ensure that the site meets the needs of educators. Please consider purchasing the software if you are using the free content. Purchasing the software means you are not only buying some great interactive software that supports you teaching in the classroom but also finances the free content of the website.
5. Literacy Store
We'll shortly be removing the literacy store as it has not been a succesful element of the website and has not made any contributions to the running costs (ed: Dec 2011).
In our recent survey, the addition of a literacy store was voted number one as a useful tool to enhance the site. We've compiled a collection of books and other resources that will support the teaching of literacy. The store is powered by Amazon, so you have access to the large selection that Amazon sell, their excellent security and customer service.
By using the RTZ literacy store you are in fact buying direct from Amazon while supporting this website. We receive a small financial commission on each sale which contributes to paying our running costs and on-going development. Please have a browse through the store.
The products in the store are not personal recommendations. Please enhance the store by considering writing Amazon reviews for any products you buy - this will then benefit other teachers and parents. [back to top]
If you use RTZ we'd like you to register, please complete the online registration form. We simply like to know who and where you are from.
When registering you'll also have the opportunity to 'opt-in' to our newsletter. The e-newsletter is an easy way to keep you updated with RTZ developments, maintenance and when we upload new resources. Our commitment to you is not to over-spam your email inbox but to use the newsletter as a genuine method to keep you informed. [back to top]
This year we implemented our first user-satisfaction survey. The results gave a really interesting insight into how RTZ is being used and how satisfied or otherwise you all are. The results of the 2007 survey are published here. A BIG THANK YOU to everyone who completed the survey and for the great comments you wrote - we're glad you like it! Congratulations to Clare Stewart-Forshaw from Dundon Primary school on winning the Amazon vouchers - happy spending Clare!
We'll be running the survey again in a year's time to monitor everything we do. [back to top]
Tim Bowerbank is the creator of www.roythezebra.com. It's always been Tim's intention to put his creativity, technical skills and love of the internet to good use. The project began life in the year 2000 but the majority of the site's development has happened over the past three years.
Here are some important questions answered...
Why a zebra?
Roy began life as a simple drawing after I'd visited South Africa, inspired by a little wooden zebra that I brought home as a present.
Why the name Roy?
It's quirky! I like it! And it nicely rhymes with 'toy' which is in one of the songs I've written.
Who does all the drawing?
Tim does... everything begins life as an idea, then a sketch, then gets scanned into a computer where it gets re-drawn and animated.
What about all the techy coding stuff, who does that?
Tim does... yawn... I've had my head in a manual for what seems like forever...
Who funds the website?
Tim does... funds are also raised through sales of the reading software and the Google ads. If you enjoy the site's free content then please consider purchasing the software. No grants support the site in any way.
I'd like to continue making the site even better than it is now... will it ever end? No, as long as it's enjoyable and I can keep on making games and stories that are useful and fun. Maybe some other subjects, perhaps numeracy, but I'm a long way off that... would also like to do some non-fiction stuff. And of course finish writing and drawing about Lucy...
What happens to Lucy?
Sorry, sorry, sorry... to all those that have read 'Roy: Tale of a Singing Zebra'... the next story will come out as soon as I can write and illustrate it. I have a fairly 'full-on' other job and Roy gets done in the majority of my free time... evenings and weekends... I will finish it, I promise! I hope to turn my full attention to the site if it can stand on its own two feet and provide an income to me from the donations and the literacy store.
Favourite Children's Characters?
Love all the new Charlie and Lola stuff - especially the music.
Kipper the dog
Chorlton and the Wheelies (1970's)
Wallace and Grommit
My guitar(s)... want to create more songs (oh no I hear you say!) and get better at them!
Sailing - I love the sea.
Cornwall... in the United Kingdom. [back to top]
Here are some testimonials made by teachers via the survey this year.
"A fun site that I shall be using more and more in the future and I intend to pass it on to other staff."
"Thanks...very good site. I have designed some cirricula myself and it's rare to find such a "step-by-step" reading program with no holes in it. You can literally go on from one point to the next. "
"I really love this! The story is very appealing and my year 1 pupil, in particular, really likes it. I teach individual pupils and this has enabled me to keep lessons fresh and fun. I am delighted with the worksheets too! More like this please!!"
"I think the story is great for young children. I love the interesting games and the worksheets. They really target reading and reading for enjoyment. The feedback for errors is instant in the IT games. Great work."
"A fun way to encourage reluctant readers in both decoding and comprehension."
"...it is a very good initiative for struggling readers"
"...children thoroughly enjoy the story, worksheets and games. They are willing and able now to predict what might happen next and are beginning to write their own sections independently."
"...Thank you so much for such a wonderful site for getting students excited about reading. The students had high interest in the story and I found it so easy to get them to do some higher order thinking and predicting with this story."
"...fun, website with tremendous potential. Children forget they are learning!"
"...This is a very useful and fun site. My first graders love it and so do I!"
"Thanks for the sacred job you are doing!"
"The children really like the interactive games. Well done for tackling all the awkward lit objectives - a great site thanks"
"...great story full of fine humour and witty puns all my young pupils LOVE it and want to read on... THANK YOU!"