Prisoners at 100 jails across the country are being taught to read, thanks to an 80-year-old Baildon pensioner.

Keda Cowling first developed her own technique to support dyslexic pupils while she was teaching at Sandal School, Baildon, more than 30 years ago.

And when she retired she decided to pass on her knowledge by creating the Toe by Toe manual which she published herself. But what started as a small family project is now reaching prisoners at 125 jails across the country after the book was taken on by a national charity.

The book aims to help dyslexics to read and write by getting them to match letters and sounds together.

Mrs Cowling first came across dyslexia when she was teaching primary school pupils in the 1960s. She said: "I realised there were children who were bright and intelligent but could not read. They could not connect the sights and sounds of letters, the neuropaths didn't join."

Mrs Cowling developed a system which helped dyslexic people to decode letters.

In 1994 the Toe by Toe manual was launched and through word of mouth and is now used in more than 20 countries.

Mrs Cowling's sons Kelsy and Frank help her to run the business which they call Keda Learning.

Kelsy said: "When we first started we would get excited about a sale of six books but now they are selling like hot cakes and can sell 400 a week. The book does not cure people of dyslexia but it does help them to get around it by getting them to decode letters so they understood what sounds they make."

For five years Keda Learning has being working alongside a charity, the Shannon Trust which buys the books and distributes them to prisons. The charity now has a team of 60 volunteers who are promoting the project across the country. The Toe by Toe manual is being used in 125 of the 134 prisons in the country.

And because of the way the manual is written, anyone who can read can use it to teach others. This means prisoners are able to teach fellow inmates to read.

There are 1,500 students in jails around the country and 1,000 coaches with 17 prisoners completing the manual every week.

Rosamund Flynn, skills for life co-ordinator at Wakefield Prison, said: "One of the girls who has come on in leaps and bounds is the mother of twins who were born in the prison. She is already copying with easy-reading books and using the library and she is delighted that she will eventually be able to help her children with their progress. This is just one of the success stories. Another girl who has just left the prison is over the moon with the reading progress she has made."

Dominic Hall, a literacy teacher at City College in Manchester, has been using the manual with prisoners at Armley Jail in Leeds. He said: "It has been very successful and the guys who have used it have enjoyed it as well as getting a lout out of it."