Development of the Literacy Programme

The initial concept of the Simplistikit (Reading and Spelling Made Simple) programme was created in 1967 by Mary Andrew, which included her training tutors and parents to work with underachieving students. Many parents wanted to help their children but didn’t know how. Over the next 30 years Mary refined her techniques and developed an entire literacy programme which has helped many children in New Zealand and overseas. The original well-known red manual, Reading and Spelling Made Simple, was first published in 1986 and has proved to be a valuable tool to help students of any age.

Revising of Resources

The step-by-step programme provides guidance for parents and teachers of underachieving children. It has also been successfully used in adult literacy, especially for those whose second language is English. The original red manual has been carefully updated and reformatted into four separate books by Barbara Griffith and Darlene Mathieson. Together they have created an attractive, easy to use resource with many fun activities and colourful illustrations. Additional resources have also been created to support and expand on the fundamentals of literacy.

Barbara Griffith

Barbara has been a teacher for more than 20 years, specialising in the teaching of literacy, as a Resource Teacher of Literacy, for much of that time. She is passionate about books and has a particular interest in helping children to learn to read. Barbara has used her skills and experience to develop Mary’s original manual into a colourful and user-friendly series of books.

Darlene Mathieson

Darlene loves books, art, learning, and children, and is passionate about helping people. Her fascination with learning led to her own research into literacy and learning styles. Darlene has trained in remedial reading and worked with children and teenagers within primary school and community programmes. Her other passion is business, and she is the owner of a branding, marketing and mentoring company which also specialises in illustration and copy writing – Traction Business Acceleration Ltd.

Mary Andrew

Mary Andrew (Diploma in Teaching, B.Ed), a New Zealand primary school teacher, discovered that there were many children in her classes who experienced difficulties in reading, writing, and spelling, and needed more individual attention than a classroom teacher was able to provide. She had a passion for literacy and a determination to empower these children, many of whom would have fallen through the cracks in the education system.


We would like to thank the following people who helped make the revised editions of Mary’s book possible. Firstly, we dedicate these books to the memory of Mary Andrew who had the passion, and the desire to make a difference in children’s and adult’s lives by empowering those experiencing difficulties with reading.

Secondly to Karen Tobich, for having the vision to see that Mary’s programme and resources would continue long after her death. We are also deeply grateful to Cheryl Bougher, who has given us considerable practical advice in the use of the manual and has been very helpful in the editing phase of this series of books.