It is widely accepted that learning to read is an essential life skill, even if there is not total agreement about how this skill should be taught. Once acquired, reading is used everyday but it seems that fewer and fewer people are choosing to read in their leisure time. This decline is not restricted to adults who arguably have less leisure time at their disposal. Children are also choosing to read for pleasure less often.
But is this important? If children have the ‘basics,’ does it matter what they do outside of school? How can immersing yourself in a good book be beneficial, especially in a day and age where ‘reading for pleasure’ feels like a thing of the past?
There is a growing body of educational research evidence that links a number of benefits of children reading for pleasure. The key findings include;
This last point is of particular interest as despite increased focus, and in many cases funding, a child’s socio-economic background stubbornly remains the single biggest indicator of a child’s future educational outcomes. What if developing a love of reading holds the key to levelling the playing field for so many children?
The research also examined children’s perceptions of readers. It concluded that a greater percentage of primary than secondary aged children view themselves as ‘a reader’ and a greater proportion of primary aged readers (than secondary aged) and non-readers believed that their friends saw readers as happy and people with a lot of friends.
It seems that the argument in favour of reading for pleasure has been won and so how can we encourage children to choose to read in their own time? One of the reasons cited for children avoiding books is a lack of reading confidence so removing some of these early barriers becomes essential. Introducing children to picture books with simple vocabulary is a great start. We know that once children can read a wide range of common words by sight they are more likely to go on to become confident, fluent readers. These common words are those that children typically recognise within approximately three seconds. Amazingly, fifty percent of our written material is made up of one hundred of these most frequently used words and this is where game-based learning can help. Games like Skoolbo enable children to learn these words effortlessly and in hugely enjoyable way. Children love games and are fascinated by new technology. Teaching these early reading and spelling skills in an exciting interactive learning environment allows children to get more from their reading. This builds confidence, freeing them to tackle more challenging words and focus on the story or poem’s meaning which, in turn, leads to increased enjoyment.
Confidence, however, can be fragile and fleeting if we are not careful. Children love sharing books with friends and trusted adults and when very young they are often very happy to read aloud. Reading silently or ‘in their head’ is a skill that develops much later, but reading to an adult in a formal school setting can be daunting for some children. It introduces an element of judgement and can result in a drop in confidence. Innovations in educational technology can help children develop as readers independently and free of judgement until they are ready.
Zippy Shine is one such innovation which allows children to practise and record their reading independently. In this reading and performance app, children can choose from a range of exciting adventures with familiar characters or they can try their hand at telling a joke, re-recording as many times as they like until they are happy with their performance. As they listen back to their own reading, they instinctively self-assess, recognising where previously unnoticed punctuation may have indicated a pause or change of intonation. They begin to have an awareness of audience and develop their performance accordingly. Children remain in control of their own reading development and only share their performance when they feel they are ready. Teachers will soon be able to receive recorded performances via their online teacher dashboard, providing opportunities for encouragement and informing planning for the next guided session. Similarly parents will soon be able to listen to the recordings in their parent dashboard, involving them in their child’s learning. It can also be a great source of pride and enjoyment for both parent and child.
Technology may not be able to replace that special time curled up in your favourite place with a well-thumbed, slightly shabby, much-loved paperback but it can go a long way to helping us develop the skills necessary to get there!
New to Skoolbo? Register your child, class or homeschool now for FREE and join the Skoolbo movement!
What an amazing few days we have had! Children from around the world took to Skoolbo in their thousands in a bid to secure victory for their country. Sadly, there could only be one winner and for the second year in a row the winner was…
Children from across Australia collectively answered a staggering 938,658 maths and literacy questions! They were so close to achieving one million answers during the four days of the competition. On behalf of Team GB we’d like to say a huge ‘congratulations’ to you all! Second place went to Team USA, with Team GB and Team New Zealand making up third and fourth places respectively.
Of course everyone who took part gained from the experience. We’ve heard wonderful stories from teachers about children encouarging and supporting each other during the challenge. Children clearly enjoyed learning about team spirit, camaraderie and aiming high, all while improving their literacy and maths skills. There were also valuable lessons about world time zones, with UK children quick to pick up when Australia and New Zealand were sleeping so they could try to catch up.
We’ve enjoyed some wonderful images of children engrossed in their learning. Bells Farm Primary School were active on Twitter, rallying support during the challenge.
Cronton CE Primary also shared some wonderful photographs. We love the festive hats!
And here are the children from Year 5 in St John Primary School Coleraine celebrating a very special Super class award during the challenge. Congratulations!
Thank you to everyone who took part and played for Team GB during the 2016 Skoolbo World Cup, whether it was just for a day or for the whole challenge. Every answer counted towards our pretty spectacular total of 720,454 answers!
Let’s take a look at the final leader boards. Congratulations to Harris Primary Academy Coleraine Park, Leigh Church of England Primary School and Knockloughrim Primary School!
We didn’t manage to get the Union flag on to the top ten of the class or pupil boards on the final day. Australia,in particular, were just too strong!
We hope you all enjoyed participating the challenge as much as we enjoyed watching it unfold.
Bring on 2017!
This is it – the final day!
Team Australia had a magnificent final day and will be tough to beat but come on let’s give it our best effort!
Team USA will also be the ones to beat, as don’t forget the time difference means that they’ll still have plenty of playing time long after we’ve gone to sleep! We need to get our score as high as possible to stop them sneaking past us!
We know that Team GB is made up of lots and lots of hard working children and so we’d like you to meet three lovely students from Thorndown Primary School’s Chameleon Class. They’ve been helping Team GB in the Skoolbo World Cup, in fact they are on Skoolbo all year round.
We were recently contacted by their teacher Mrs Burke who wanted to let us know that their Skoolbo Super Champ trophy was looking a little deflated.
“At Thorndown Primary we have a weekly competition to see which class has scored the most Skoolbo points. The winner receives the inflatable trophy. My Year 1 Chameleon class has worked very hard and won the trophy! The children were thrilled. They kept touching the trophy and holding it up like champions. After the week the trophy looked a bit deflated, so we pumped it up and took it back to assembly. The next week we won again. More holding of the trophy ensued and by the end of the week the trophy needed lots of blowing up. Following even more hard work Chameleon class won the third week in a row. In assembly the head teacher asked what had happened to the now totally deflated trophy and my only reply was that ‘we loved it too much’.” Claire Burke
We’re glad you’re on our team!
Here are the rankings as we go into the last day –
Let’s get a few more Union flags on those leader boards!
Join in for the final push!
Follow the challenge #SkoolboWorldCup
Or register now!
It’s the start of day three here in the UK and the leader boards reveal that Team New Zealand, Team GB and Team USA are fighting a close battle but it is Team Australia who are seemingly impossible to topple!
However, here at Skoolbo, we firmly believe that anything is possible so come on Team GB, let’s get ready to take on the Aussies!
We have passed the half million answer mark and now that Team Australia and Team New Zealand are sleeping we have a chance to cover some ground and get more UK schools into the top ten. Here’s how the leader boards looked this morning –
Australia’s John XXIII Catholic Primary School and St Clare’s Primary School are looking comfortable at the top with St Michael’s School sneaking into fourth place. Team USA had a good day and have four schools in the top ten. Beverley Manor Elementary are continuing their good run as are Irma Dru Hutchinson Elementary and Melba Elementary School. Spring Creek Elementary are also up there flying the Stars and Stripes!
Team GB have Harris Primary Academy Coleraine Park in seventh position. These students are experienced challengers, having been absolute stars in The London vs NYC challenge last year.
Northern Ireland’s Knockloughrim Primary School are only just behind them in eighth place. These marvellous students have answered over 66,000 questions so far and show no sign of slowing down! They took these wonderful photographs of students participating in the challenge. What an inspiration, keep it up guys!
Don’t be fooled by Team New Zealand’s temporary absence on the schools leader board. They are holding on to second place overall and have some dedicated classes determined to oust Team Australia and claim glory –
Go! GB Kids Go!
Follow the challenge – #SkoolboWorldCup
Or register here –
By lunchtime yesterday, children from across the globe had collectively answered over one million questions! We thought that was pretty amazing until we took a look this morning…over three and a half million questions!
This is an awesome achievement and everyone taking part has every reason to feel enormously proud. Of course it is made all the more special as every answer given represents another step a student has made towards mastering a new maths, literacy or language skill!
Whilst we are delighted with our collective performance, it is the accomplishment of individual territories that will determine the overall winner and our little island is ready for the challenge!
Scotland’s Kirknewton Primary School have rolled up their sleeves and are getting down to some serious maths and literacy learning with the added motivation of playing for Team GB!
We’re really glad to have them on board and making a valuable contribution to Team GB’s score.
We asked Principal Teacher and Skoolbo advocate, Ms Anderson to give us the low-down on why students from Kirknewton are enjoying their learning so much. They are so taken with their Skoolbo avatars, they wanted them shown here!
“Fun For Friends and Family!” Heather
“I think Skoolbo is a great website because it lets you compete around the world!” Luke
“I think skoolbo is great for children because it encourages children to enhance their learning in a fun way. You also get certificates for every 1000 answers you get right. You can add friends but you need to be sitting next to them to do it because you need to put in the other persons code but it only comes up on the other persons screen.” Cameron
“It helps you with all your subjects. This is one good game for adults and one great game for kids! Skoolbo is really good for learning and it is fun. It also helps if you are a little bit competitive because there is a leaderboard for your class, school, region, every school, every class and the whole world! We got to the top of the leaderboard, see if you can climb to the top!” Mia
“It is a good game to challenge yourself and is helping your maths.” Rhiannon
“This is a good app for everyone: Adults, Children, Teachers and it’s fun for toddlers. Fun for friends and Family!” Taylor
“I think that Skoolbo is a very fun game to do your maths and languages and we have been first in the leaderboard 1 time it is the best game ever! “ Kyle
“I think Skoolbo is great as it helps you learn and also has lots of variety of games. You can do maths, literacy and languages. Our class were first on the leader board.” Leela
“Skoolbo is an amazing experience as it helps you learn and makes your skills better. Skoolbo is one fun game for adults and one amazing experience for kids“ Owen
“This is a good game for alien but a great game for humans. But overall a great game for all kinds and parents can relax with a good safe game.” Ella
“I think Skoolbo is a very good game because you can learn a whole variety of skills like spelling times tables and more!” Callum
“Skoolbo is a great game it makes learning fun! Our class has been the of the leader board and it means that our class plays it a lot and we get smarter every time we play it. 2, on Skoolbo you can play language games, maths games and literacy games it teaches you everything in a fun way.” Elspie
“It’s an amazing game to play for maths, language and spelling (I’ve improved so much!!!)” Heather
“I LOVE SKOOLBO! It is a great game for everyone, every age, anywhere I think that more schools should be using Skoolbo to help children’s learning across the world! (Thank You to Ms Anderson who helped us get involved!)” Beth
We are thrilled to have this wonderful school competing for Team GB!
Team Australia passed the half million mark while we were snoozing and so there’s no time to waste!
Go! GB Kids Go!
Just hit ‘PLAY’
The wait is over, the 2016 Skoolbo World Cup has commenced!
Team Australia and Team New Zealand have made a flying start, although the time difference has given them a few more playing hours (as it stands). But it’s only day 1 and we have already surpassed the global one million answer mark! Fantastic!
Team GB, this is your chance to gain some ground while they sleep down under! Team USA will be waking up soon so let’s give it our best shot!
Here in the UK, we are lucky to have some schools that rank as ‘big hitters’ when it comes to racking up high scores. The students of Kings Lodge Primary School are Skoolbo veterans and have wasted no time in helping to set the Team GB totaliser whizzing.
We asked them for an update on how things are going at one of our favourite schools. Here’s what they had to say –
“At King’s Lodge, we have enjoyed playing Skoolbo for several years. We have quite a few champions in our school who have managed massive high scores – and won trophies. Our Year 4 are doing particularly well at the moment.”
“We go on once a week in school and the children then go on it as their homework. They enjoy really it.”
“I enjoy getting messages that tell me how well the children in KLS are doing! Keep it up, Team KLS!”
“It’s really fun. I play it nearly every day.” Caz
“I like it because it is a different way of practising.” Mia
“I think it is fun to play and you should play too because it is fun and helps your learning.” Harvey
“I wanted to go on Skoolbo but I was only allowed to go on for 20 minutes; but I got flashing lights and a well done message for breaking a record!” Serenity
“I do my maths every single day; I love it!” Amy
Don’t worry Serenity, our research has show that it only takes 20 minutes on Skoolbo for 94% of children to master a new skill!
Are you ready to take on the world? Play now or register free!
It’s time to show the world what team GB can do. On Tuesday, the 6th December children across the UK will compete with children in Australia, New Zealand and the United States for the title of World Skoolbo Champion. Answer as many questions as you can on reading, maths and languages during the 4 day event.
Here are the wonderful students from Papakura Normal School in New Zealand in anticipation of the challenge-
Stay tuned for more news on the World Cup coming in the lead up to December 6th…
Go GB Kids! Go!
The children of Aldermoor Farm Primary School have shown that they really have what it takes to excel. One of our early-adopter schools that came on board in 2014, they are truly dedicated ‘Skoolbo-ers’. Take a glance at the UK leader board and you will usually see them occupying a top ten place, as this snapshot from last week shows –
We are always on the look out for schools who believe in leading by example which is why we have chosen Aldermoor Farm Primary School in Coventry to be the first of our ambassadors for the upcoming 2016 Skoolbo World Cup.
This year we are shining the spotlight on class 1TC who have recently earned their Super Class Award for collectively answering 25,000 questions! They may be some of the youngest children in the school but they have shown that together they are a force to be reckoned with. Next stop the ‘Spectacular Class Award’!
Here’s what these wonderful superstars have to say about their learning with Skoolbo –
“I like flying games because they make me learn numbers and counting.” Suber
“I like to race so I can learn not to crash and it helps me numbers and letters.” Julija
“I go on Skoolbo because it helps me learn take away and add, numbers and addition.” Sanvi
“I go on Skoolbo because it is fun and also helps me to learn and become better at maths and writing.” Isaac
The children of Aldermoor Farm Primary School will be pulling out all the stops for Team GB to give us the best possible chance of victory. Are you ready to join them?
Start practising now so you’re ‘match fit’ and ready to play. Bring it on!
The Skoolbo World Cup is back for a third year! Children in the UK will be competing against other Skoolbo-ers in classrooms across the USA, New Zealand and Australia.
Running from Tuesday 6th to Friday 9th of December, your students’ avatars will wear a new Team GB uniform. Every question your students answer correctly puts the UK one step closer to victory! There will be an automated tally on the Skoolbo website homepage so you can see the results live.
This is a great way to motivate and engage students to learn by answering lots of maths and literacy questions.
Let’s have some fun as we join together to take on the world in the Skoolbo World Cup!
Stay tuned for more news on the World Cup coming in the lead up to December 6th…
Go GB Kids! Go!
New to Skoolbo? Register your child or class now to get involved in our highly motivating World Cup!