Could reading for pleasure be a game-changer?

Reading for pleasure (3)

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;

  • reading for pleasure is important for both educational purposes as well as personal development and it has positive emotional and social consequences
  • there is a positive relationship between reading frequency, reading enjoyment and attainment
  • there is a positive relationship between reading for pleasure and attainment in a wide range of educational areas including maths
  • reading enjoyment may be more important for children’s educational success than their family’s socio-economic status.

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!

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The final day is here!

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!

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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.

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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!

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Here are the rankings as we go into the last day –

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Let’s get a few more Union flags on those leader boards!

Join in for the final push!

Follow the challenge #SkoolboWorldCup

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Or register now!

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Day 3 and Team GB make the half million mark!

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!

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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 –

schoolAustralia’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!

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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 –

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Go! GB Kids Go!

Follow the challenge – #SkoolboWorldCup

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Or register here –

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Are you ready to win?

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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-

 

Would you share with us your World Cup preparations?

Stay tuned for more news on the World Cup coming in the lead up to December 6th…

Go GB Kids! Go!

Tweets of the Week!

We love it when schools take to social media to celebrate the great learning taking place in their schools. It’s even better when we see that the cause of all that engagement and enjoyment is Skoolbo!

Take a look at these marvellous images of children having fun while securing those important maths, reading, grammar and spelling skills.

Well done to Year 1 at North Ormesby Academy who are demonstrating some great collaborative learning!

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Year 5 got the ball rolling at Water Lane Academy…

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…and just look at how well the school are performing on the leaderboard now!

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This is simply awesome and today we heard about the brand new Skoolbo lunch time club!

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How’s this for dedication!

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Thank you for sharing your good news and great photographs – you are all outstanding!

Join the conversation!

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2015 Skoolbo World Cup Recap – What a Week!

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The 2015 Skoolbo World Cup is all over and Team Australia have brought home the trophy, beating off stiff competition from the rest of the world after a fantastic week of action-packed fun! So much great stuff happened during this world cup and we at Skoolbo would like to thank everyone for making it such a resounding success. This year, you’ve answered a combined total of 19,026,100 literacy, numeracy and language questions, with Teams Australia, USA and GB all comfortably joining the million club! Team NZ were only a whisker away from the magic million and should be over the moon with your brilliant performance! Let’s take a look at how the action went down as the world cup raged on:

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Team GB came out of the blocks at a blistering pace and finished the first day on top of the overall leaderboards. They were closely followed by the rest of the world and this really did set the competitive mood for the 2015 Skoolbo World Cup. We knew you were all up for it!

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Day two passed and Team Australia struck back for the rest of the world, leapfrogging Team GB into top spot! Team USA and Team NZ were racking up some unbelievable scores and really heaping the pressure on. We were positively peachy when we saw that  all you Skoolbo-ers had racked up over 7 million questions within the first 2 days. Crazy! The schools leaderboard started to take shape, too, with Meadowbrook Primary School of Team GB grabbing a well-deserved lead that they defended ferociously until the end!

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The action hit boiling point when world cup fever took hold of the weekend. Nearly 12 million questions answered by Skoolbo superstars around the world! Team GB took back the lead from Team Australia and tried to get some distance from Team NZ and Team USA, who would just not let them get away. King-Chavez Athletics Academy were starting to make tracks for Team USA in the schools leaderboard, with Bayswater from Team NZ cranking up the pressure!

…and the battle raged!

It was getting close to the end of the world cup and epic battles were happening all across the leaderboards. Team Australia and Team GB were enjoying a titanic struggle on the overall leaderboard, followed by long-time leaders Meadowbrook frantically holding off a late surge from Beverley Manor Elementary of Team USA on the schools leaderboard. Bayswater and King-Chavez Athletics Academy were trading blows and places on the classes leaderboard, with 3 Aussie students doing their best to hold off 3 Team GB students on the students leaderboard!

The Home Straight

Over 18 million questions in and both Team GB and Team Australia joined the million club, with Team USA soon to follow and Team NZ putting in some wonderful work. A very even mix of countries could be seen across the schools leaderboard, with Meadowbrook refusing to let go of that top spot! Bayswater managed to create some distance at the top of the classes leaderboard, knowing a very capable and spirited bunch could overtake them at any time. The students leaderboard was as unpredictable as it was exciting, with John XXIII Catholic Primary School just about holding onto top spot ahead of some incredibly high-scoring competitors!

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They think it’s all over, it is now! A tense final day saw our overall winners, Team Australia, come good when it mattered most. On the schools leaderboard John XXIII Catholic Primary School snatched victory at the last second from long-time leaders, Meadowbrook, while Class 5 at Bayswater did Team NZ proud by taking home gold on the classes leaderboard. The students leaderboard finished with a flourish and top spot went to Team Australia via the student in Class 6 White at John XXIII Catholic Primary School, after an heroic fight to the end with a fellow Aussie student in Class 5W at St. Clare’s Primary School. This is how the leaderboards looked at the finish –

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What a world cup it’s been and thank you to every that took part and made it so special. We can’t wait for next year and we hope you all feel the same!

Day 2 – Another strong performance from Team GB!

We support Team GB!

Well done Team GB! Another excellent day saw us snatch back the lead which was not easy given the strength of Team Aus. Of course it’s not over for the day yet as Team US still have a few hours of playing time and they are having a brilliant day’s learning! Team NZ are by no means out of the race and so anything could happen tomorrow!

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Here’s a quick round up of the leaderboards at the close of the UK day. Hats off to Meadowbrook and Eastern Green and great to see the appearance of London vs New York Challenge superstars Harris Primary Academy Coleraine Park in the top ten.

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Well done to all ‘Skoolbo-ers’ across the globe, we’ll catch up with you tomorrow.

Follow the hashtag #SkoolboWorldCup on twitter!

Go! GB Kids Go!

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We support Team GB!

As we reach lunchtime on the second day of the Skoolbo World Cup Challenge Team GB is beginning to close the gap and catch up with Team Aus. We’re going to all have to make a concerted effort as it looks as though some dedicated Aussie pupils may have stayed up past their bedtime! Now that the last Team Aus pupil is tucked up and asleep it is our chance to win back any lost ground.

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We do need to say a huge ‘well done’ to these fantastic pupils from Team Aus. They put in an amazing effort and currently hold the top six places on the pupil leaderboard. RM from Year 6, Limbrick Wood Primary and MB from Otters, Thorndown Primary are flying the flag for Team GB and nudging their way up the board. Strong performances from pupils SB and GPS from Team NZ have kept them in the top ten.

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Meadowbrook’s Voles will not be toppled but is there a class rivalry between Voles and Otters? We predict a friendly battle will ensue.

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Meadowbrook, Eastern Green and Carleton make up the top three UK schools.

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Mrs Millar from Carleton Primary School contacted us last night to tell us just how much the students of this terrific school are enjoying the challenge.

“One of our pupil support assistants remarked how valuable Skoolbo is for the pupil she is supporting. It has improved his speed at answering questions, his mouse control and is keeping him engaged. She was very impressed.”

“Our pupils are keen to check the leaderboard regularly and are remarking things like: ‘I’m going on at home so I can beat everyone and be at the top of the leaderboard!'”

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Charlie B (Room 12 – P4) “I like how you can play against people from different countries for the Skoolbo World Cup.”

IMG_0181 “All of the children are excited to see where we are placed on the leaderboard against other schools and hope to win the World Cup for GB.

Thanks for the support in implementing Skoolbo across the whole school.”

 

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Thank you for the wonderful comments, we are very glad to have you playing for Team GB!

Follow the hashtag #SkoolboWorldCup on twitter!

Go! GB Kids Go!

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We support Team GB!

It’s time to catch up with what’s been happening in the challenge overnight and as expected Team Aus got to work and have built up a comfortable lead while Team GB were getting some Zzzzzzzs!

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Team NZ and Team US have been steadily adding to their totals but haven’t quite managed to overtake Team GB  who are holding strong at just under 300,000 answers.

Meadowbrook Primary School have been simply amazing and held on to their lead despite our Antipodean cousins’ efforts.

Eastern Green have been active on Skoolbo since we launched here in the UK and they are bringing their experience to the challenge. They are currently sitting pretty in second place with Carleton Primary School also back in the top ten. We’ll be giving you an update on these marvellous students from Fife in a few hours so make sure you check back with us.

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The remarkable Voles of Meadowbrook are just about holding on to first place as Team NZ’s Class 5 (Bayswater School) are breathing down their necks. Voles now have the chance to widen the gap while Class 5 sleeps!Class

The students fromTeam Aus are dominating the pupil leaderboard this morning but for how long?

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Watch this space…

Follow the hashtag #SkoolboWorldCup on twitter!

Go! GB Kids Go!

Day 1 – A fantastic first day!

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With the children of the UK now safely tucked up in bed it’s time to look at how Team GB fared and what a simply amazing first day!!!!!

Over one million questions answered globally with Team GB finishing the day ahead of the others –

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World Cup Ambassadors Meadowbrook Primary School were outstanding, finishing in top spot on the school leaderboard. Eastern Green and Thorndown also managed to hold on to top ten places but Team US are making a surge.

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Meadowbrook’s Voles did themselves proud with Otters and Herons also earning a special mention along with Year 6 St John from Our Lady of Lourdes RC Primary.

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The pupil leaderboard at the end of the day revealed some great individual performances with students representing Team GB bagging 7 of the top ten places! HT from Meadowbrook’s Voles only just missed out on making it a hat trick for his school.

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A fantastic day of fun and learning, we can’t wait to see what you achieve tomorrow!

Follow the hashtag #SkoolboWorldCup on twitter!

Go! GB Kids Go!

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Team GB you rock! Only a few hours in and the UK have captured half the places on the leaderboard already! Our Lady of Lourdes RC Primary School and Hawthorn Park Community Primary School have now made the top ten.

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Our totaliser is showing that we are rapidly gaining ground but we need to take a convincing lead if we want to stay ahead of Team Aussie. The bigger the lead, the harder it will be for them to catch us. We also need to keep an eye on Team US as the schools in different times zones wake up ready to challenge us.

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It’s good to see more UK classes joining the leaderboards. Welcome Eastern Green, High Ongar and Scottish ambassador school Carleton!

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To add to the excitement, take a look at this world map. It illustrates beautifully how Skoolbo allows children from around the world to unite in their learning while at the same time competing in a fun and fair way.

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Follow the hashtag #SkoolboWorldCup on twitter!

Go! GB Kids Go!

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The anticipation is over, the long awaited Skoolbo World Cup has begun and Team GB are already showing that they are a force to be reckoned with!

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Year 5/6 from Bell’s Farm Primary School wasted no time at all in making sure Team GB got the best possible start. They were among the first to tweet their support. Just look at  these fabulous pictures –

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Teams NZ and Aussie may have had the time advantage as they started before us but Team GB look set to make up for the time difference.

We can already see schools showing their determination, ready to push their way to the top. Well done Meadowbrook (one of our ambassador schools), Dover Court, Booker Hill and Lakeview who have muscled their way straight onto the leaderboards –

SchoolSchool2The class leaderboards reveal just who was ready when the challenge began. Congratulations Mallards (Lakeview), Willow (Kings Lodge), Miss Tranter (Booker Hill), Voles and Herons (Meadowbrook) and P7 (Strathallan) –

Class3Class2class 1We also want to salute some star pupils –

Pupil1Pupil2We’d like to cover the leaderboards in a sea of Union Flags so please join in and help Team GB secure victory.

Follow the hashtag #SkoolboWorldCup on twitter!

Go! GB Kids Go!

 

Get ready for the Skoolbo World Cup with Adrian Turner

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Skoolbo World Cup 2nd – 8th December 2015

With just two weeks to go until the launch of the 2015 Skoolbo World Cup it’s time for Team GB to get practising.

‘Team GB – who are they?’ we hear you ask…

You of course!

All children (and schools) in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are invited to join together in an effort to become Skoolbo World Champions. Together you make up Team GB and your task is to try to beat all the other Skoolbo teams from around the globe by answering the most literacy, numeracy and language questions over the 7 day challenge.

During the challenge students’ avatars will be dressed in an exclusive Team GB kit and every question answered correctly will take us one step closer to victory! Keep a look out for the dedicated Challenge Leaderboard which will show live results in real time!

Former Olympic Swimmer and Skoolbo Ambassador Adrian Turner knows all about preparing for a big event and has recorded this special message to get us all motivated and ready to win –

If your school is registered then you’ll already know what to do. Make sure everyone in your class has their username and password and is practising by playing at home and school.

Spread the word about the challenge by downloading this cool poster to display around your school-

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Forgotten your login? Not a problem, we’re here to help. You can email us, call us, tweet us or message us!

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Not yet registered? Why wait? It’s fast and free, your school can be up and running quick as a flash with no training required.

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P5 from Valley Primary School snatch victory!

You may recall we have been following the efforts of some very special children from classes P5 and P5/6 from Valley Primary School in Kirkcaldy. Well the challenge is over and the results are in! We were delighted to receive this report from Learning Support Teacher and challenge organiser Mrs Lesley Cameron –

“The children worked exceedingly hard over the week and it was a close race with a different class being in the lead each day. The final totals for the week were…….

…P5 with 32,262 and  P5/6 with 31,791 points. Only 471 points less!

The winning class were delighted to be presented with the trophy by Headteacher Paula Seiner. They got a group photo with the two children who had gained the most points, Bethany Massey and Leon Page holding the trophy. All the children got stickers, bookmarks a sweet treat and extended break to celebrate their success. The children were so excited they asked if they could get an individual photo holding the trophy.

Magdalena Antonik in the P5/6 class deserves a special mention for all the effort she put in at home to help her class. She personally achieved 16,000 points!

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All of the children were avidly following the Skoolbo leadership board and they were absolutely delighted when both the classes took the first and second position in the UK class board.

Some of the other classes are now thinking of setting their own challenges.”

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Wow an amazing achievement,  a huge ‘congratulations’ to all the students who took part but what about the headphones the children were hoping to acquire to improve their learning experience? Well Headteacher, Ms Paula Seiner and the members of the school’s Senior Leadership Team have been so impressed with all the enthusiasm around Skoolbo that they have invested in individual earplugs for all the children from P5 to P7 so a great result there!

Skoolbo is ‘making learning fun’ for Valley Primary School children!

Valley Primary School set their own Skoolbo challenge!

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