Young Girl Reading


Where the story begins...

"I wasn't a reader as a child."  I've used these words so many times and as a primary teacher, I was perhaps sharing a secret that shouldn't be promoted.  My own parents read to me, and I could immediately tell if my dad skipped a page of The Ugly Duckling when I was snoozing through the story.  So why didn't I enjoy reading as a teenager?  This I don't know, but with my own children, and the children in my classes, I was determined to inspire a love of books and reading that would last a lifetime.  

Introducing Wilbur and Flops.  

Will is my eldest child, an avid reader by 6 years old, and Fern is following on behind - she insists upon a 'two stories before bed' routine, reads the first page herself, and her growing vocabulary amazes us every day.  

We gave our children two short names and spend our days lengthening them!  Will, Wilbur, William, Wilberfoss, and Fern, Fernie, Fernie-Pie, and Flopsy (she was born with her ear a little crumpled and became Flopsy before we left hospital).  I hope they don't mind me using Wilbur and Flops; after all, they are my inspiration to share a love of books more widely and to encourage other young readers to read throughout their childhood, teenage years and into adulthood.  

Here's another secret: it took me three years to just finish reading a novel recently!!  I try to read at least three or four times a week but I am terrible for falling asleep when I have a book in my hands.  My husband often has to give me a nudge because the sound of page turning has been replaced by my snoring!  I live through my children's books now and have such a passion for their reading that I want to make sure this is shared with the little learners and ready readers with whom I have the pleasure of working.  

In 2020, Covid-19 arrived and Wilbur and Flops retreated to being an online learning provision.  Since March 2020, we've had online story time classes, online phonics group classes, and one to one lessons in North Yorkshire, where we live, and as far away as Hong Kong!

In September 2021, we returned to face to face classes in Thirsk for the preschool groups but continued online for school-age children as these classes work very well via Zoom, and they are quick to log in, learn and leave!



Qualified. Experienced. Creative.

Rachel Mackay is a qualified teacher with a range of experience in nursery and infant settings in state and private sectors, as well as a background in dance teaching for young children. 
BA QTS (Hons) English
EYPS (Early Years Professional Status)
Post-Graduate Diploma in Phonics Teaching
Post-Graduate Diploma in Educational Improvement, Development and Change
NASENCO (National Award for Special Educational Needs Coordination)
Compass Buzz Mental Health Training Levels 1, 2 and 3
NSPCC Safer Recruitment Training
BATD (British Association of Teachers of Dancing) Associate (Stage)
Paediatric First Aid
Parent Governor from October 2020



Experience stories. Learn to read. Grow as a reader.

I work with children and their families, providing exceptional consultation and lessons that are planned to specifically suit their individual needs. Take a look below at the services I offer and get in touch to help your child to make good progress.



Weekly classes for little learners from babies to pre-school (0 - 4 years +), with their parent, grandparent or carer, held at Butterflies in Thirsk, North Yorkshire.  

Encourage a love of reading from a very early age through sharing stories, learning rhymes and engaging in pre-phonics and phonics activities, with a link to the story of the week.

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Weekly classes via Zoom for:

  • Ready readers who have begun to learn to recognise letter sounds and are ready to blend these into words and sentences.  

  • Fantastic phonics learners who are working on alternative spellings for each sound, reading words and sentences with more ease.

  • Super spellers who know all the letter sounds, have passed their phonics screening check, and are securing spellings from the national curriculum and more.

These classes provide a little boost to support learning in school.

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Learn to Read


Personalised phonics, reading and writing lessons via Zoom for children of primary age. Early maths support is also available. 

Thorough knowledge of the National Curriculum and the teaching of phonics supports creative approaches to build confidence and enthusiasm in reading.

Holiday sessions are also available.

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Missing Piece


Puzzled by phonics? Let me help you.

Unsure about provision for your child's special needs or looking to apply for an EHCP?  Get in touch to see how I can help.

Bespoke explanation, guidance and advice for parents and carers of young children at any stage of their early schooling (EYFS to Year 6).

Learn how to support and extend your child’s learning at home, from their early babbling to them reading chapter books!

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Nurturing Growth


Bespoke training sessions for childminders and nursery staff.

Discover ways to implement Phase One of Letters & Sounds to ensure strong foundations before children take their

big step to school.  Build the right foundations for phonological awareness without venturing into a set phonics programme too soon.

Engage support in considering applying for an EHCP for a child in nursery, from first steps to submission and then annual reviews.  Consultant SENCo services can help.

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Interested in knowing how Wilbur and Flops' services can support your child, your nursery staff or yourself?  Contact me today.

Evie Bs.jpg

Evie Bees Childminding

Rachel has worked with our children all term on fostering a love of reading, supporting learning through phonics and sounds, with the use of the early years curriculum, and through a lot of fun and activities surrounding carefully chosen stories each week.


The best way to contact Wilbur and Flops is by email to:


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