Elan Jones tells us how Menter Iaith Sir y Fflint used £5,000 to develop apps to support non-Welsh speaking parents, parents who lack confidence speaking the language and learners, to read foundation phase Welsh alongside their children.
“Who could have guessed back in the seventies that Magi Ann, the likeable character of the little books, would become a star on the screens of our phones and tablets forty years later? Generations of children from Clwyd (and beyond) have learned to read with the black and white books, but today those stories are available across the country, free of charge, and animated for the first time. With over 38,750 having downloaded her apps, and her calendar full to the brim with visits at events and eisteddfods all over the country, Magi Ann is quickly becoming an A-lister in Wales, in demand as much as the likes of Bryn Terfel or Tom Jones…
Yes, you read that right – nearly 40 thousand people have downloaded the Magi Ann apps since her digital debut back in 2014! The project came to life thanks to the financial support of the Rural Development Plan 2007-2013, Cronfa Glyndŵr, Flintshire County Council, Cymdeithas Wil Bryan, but it was the National Lottery Community Fund’s Awards for All programme which enabled Menter Iaith Sir y Fflint to complete the project with the final apps. Volunteers from the community also came together to help create the apps, including Jac Jones who was only four years old at the time, and sings Magi Ann’s theme tune.
So for who were the apps created? This is a great resource for children who already speak Welsh, for children who are learning Welsh, and also for parents and teachers who aren’t Welsh speakers themselves. The fact that so many have downloaded the apps unquestionably proves the demand for this type of resouce which helps parents and children learn to read through the medium of Welsh. We know of families across the world who have downloaded Magi Ann apps to introduce the Welsh language to their children! The innovative resource is an effective way for children and parents to build confidence forming words and reading in Welsh, with useful interactive features such as:
- The option for the user to either read the stories themselves or to hear the stories being read;
- The option to see translations of sentences by tapping a button, or tapping on a certain word to hear how it is pronounced;
- Jigsaws, word games and colouring pages.
Due to the obvious popularity of the resource, the North Wales Mentrau Iaith now hold Magi Ann parties and activities with parent groups, children and local nurseries across the north. They’ve also invested in two Magi Ann suits, which enables special visits at the events from the star herself! 100 people came to Magi Ann’s picnic at Wepre Park on the first day of the summer holiday – needless to say, faces were lighting up as little eyes took in the broad smile and the bright green dress!
So what’s next for Magi Ann? An album? Top 40 number one? Hollywood? Keep a look out for her name…”