Two Kāpiti women working in education have taken matters into their own hands to create fundamental reading resources they have both found to be missing in their jobs.
Anne Russell, a primary school teacher currently working for Te Kura, the correspondence school and Rosemary Emery, a speech and language therapist working for the Ministry of Education, have created Off The Page.
Off The Page creates easy to read, high interest ebooks for low level readers in New Zealand and around the world.
"We started because in both our jobs we found teachers were asking us for resources, saying we've got adolescent readers that are reading at a 5-7-year-old level," Anne said.
"They were asking, 'What reading material have you got that's appropriate?'
"The only stuff that was available were the 'little readers' that you have if you were 5 or 6 years old about diggers, sandpits and so on with pictures of 5 and 6-year-olds.
"We looked globally for books like these thinking surely someone else has thought of this but couldn't find anything.
"I kept coming up against a brick wall."
"We know about reading and we know what level you can expect a 5-year-old to be reading at," Rosemary said.
So they started writing books suited to older readers with reading disabilities, struggling readers and adults learning to read.
The difference between Off The Page books and children's readers are that Off The Page books are created for teens and young adults on subjects they enjoy.
They have young adults in the photos, rather than 5-year-olds.
Anne and Rosemary have written two sets of ebooks. Each set comprises 21 titles - seven at each of Level 1, 2 and 3 reading level on topics such as cooking, working in a cafe, playing rugby, going surfing and making coffee.
"You won't find children's books here as our books are created for teens and young adults on subjects they enjoy."
Between Anne and Rosemary they collectively have 80 years in expertise and knowledge in the field of education.
"We put a lot of homework into these books," Rosemary said.
"There was a gap to fill and the need is there.
"A lot of high schools don't bother with literacy because students are generally expected to know how to read by the time they get to high school.
"But you can be emergent literacy forever. We are all constantly learning, it's a journey from birth, and these young people are still on this journey of learning to read.
"We want to excite them - to have books on topics which are age appropriate so they can engage."
They have received positive feedback from schools. Aiming the books mostly at schools, Anne and Rosemary are currently writing a third set and are continuing to look at how they can continue filling the gap.
"We're very passionate about bringing literacy to those who can't access it," Anne said.
"It's an endless job, the need is there, but we have the skills to do it."
For more information and to purchase the ebooks visit offthepage.co.nz.