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Innovative classroom tool has sound impact on literacy

15 Apr 2014

Classrooms around the globe now have free access to Booktrack Classroom, a dedicated education platform that has already shown its potential in a University of Auckland study.

The results of the randomised study in 260 students found that those who read the syllabus text incorporating Booktrack’s synchronised soundtrack spent 30% more time reading and had up to 17% higher comprehension compared with the control group.

Furthermore, in a group of students with reading difficulties, up to 18% had higher comprehension and up to 35% higher satisfaction when using Booktrack.

“Preliminary results showed a significant improvement and I was excited to see the impact it had on comprehension in high school students,” says Professor Matthew Parsons of the University of Auckland who provided academic oversight for the study.

Dave Hithersay, head of Biology at Mt Roskill Grammar School, led the studies. “There was an instant shift in reading comprehension across both groups,” he says. “I don’t think there’s anything equivalent that has had such an instant impact on comprehension improvement since the initial invention of the book itself.”

Launched by New Zealand company Booktrack, the education tool Booktrack Classroom sychronises audio with text, and gives students and teachers free access to hundreds of soundtracked e-books, from famous classics to contemporary titles. Students can also create Booktracks for their own writing, and create a soundtrack from over 20 000 professional-quality audio files, and share it with their classmates.

Booktrack Classroom has multiple uses across Years 1-13 in the reading and writing curriculum, and can be used for creative writing, essay writing, literature study and reading aloud.

As Booktrack expands into the education sector, it builds on a recent successful fundraising round where it secured US$3 million in local and offshore investors, led by Sparkbox Ventures. The funding enables Booktrack to build on its recent growth with Booktrack Studio, where self-published writers are able to add soundtracks to their own ebooks. Launched in September 2013, Booktrack Studio has attracted 300 000 users, who have created more than 3600 Booktracks in 30 different languages.

Interestingly, the results of the University of Auckland study come at a time where New Zealand’s OECD reading rating has dropped from 7th to 13th.

Keeping reading fun is what’s important for the next generation of digital learners, says Paul Cameron, Booktrack’s CEO.

“With the increasing number of distractions available to kids across video games, television and apps, teachers and parents often struggle to get students excited about reading and writing. Booktrack not only makes reading and writing more fun, but as this study shows, it also improves learning.”

“This is why we are making the Booktrack Classroom system free to all schools in order to help teachers improve reading enjoyment and comprehension for their students and incorporate into their curriculum.”

To find out more, visit www.booktrackclassroom.com

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