Busy mum’s reading mouse makes learning easier There’s not too many spare moments in Underwood resident Melissa Savonoff’s diary. There’s her ‘day job’ as a Logan-based paediatric occupational therapist and her home life as a mum with five children. Sound busy enough? Add in that Melissa is also a children’s book author, an app developer, a songwriter and a host of children’s literacy workshops at Logan City Council libraries and seminars at schools. It’s a hectic schedule but one that’s been made possible by her passion for improving children’s literacy. Melissa started her Ricardo Reading Mouse range of educational resources a few years ago, primarily for children aged 3 to 8 years.
(From left) Maria and Dimitra Baveas, of MacGregor and Underwood’s Melissa Savonoff with her children Rachel and Daniel
She says Ricardo’s English Word Grid, which groups simple words with the same endings, resonates well with the age group “It fulfils a need I had seen for a systematic phonics-based approach for teaching children to learn to read and spell,” she says. From humble beginnings, the venture has grown significantly. Using fellow local business In House Publishing, she’s published two early years literacy books, as well as four apps for Apple and Android devices, numerous songs and an album on iTunes. Not only have the books been well received in Australia and at Logan’s libraries, the success of the Ricardo Reading Mouse series has gone international.
Melissa was invited to attend the Preschool Education Expo in Guangzhou, China, last year to showcase the English literacy resources to Chinese kindergarten and preschool principals and teachers. Back on Australian shores, Logan City Council’s Logan North Library hosted a launch of her latest book in conjunction with fellow ‘mumpreneur’ Dimitra Baveas, who launched her MyBurrow Sensory Learning tool. To find out about sessions by Melissa in November, keep an eye on the library’s What’s on booklet, available at all nine libraries and online. You can also visit the library’s online events calendar, where there is a link to the What’s on: loganlibraries.org/whats-on See ricardoreadingmouse.com.au and myburrow.com.au for more information.