How successful are Talking Stories in helping children learn to read?

29 June 2015
How successful are Talking Stories in helping children learn to read?

The Western Cape Education Department carried out an evaluation to find out how effective the Talking Stories are in boosting literacy skills.

At the beginning of the 2008 school year, two thousand Grade 1 children in 26 schools were given a simple, one-page reading assessment, to find out whether they could recognise alphabet sounds and high frequency words.

The 13 test schools were provided with the Talking Stories software to use in their computer labs once a week.  The teachers also downloaded the worksheets to use in class, and were supplied with five sets of the reading books per class.  Teachers were given training to optimise the use of the Talking Stories.  

The 13 control schools were given various other educational software packages to use in their school computer labs.

Halfway through the school year the children were given the same paper-based reading assessment that they had done at the outset.

The pace of reading acquisition was 71% better in the Talking Stories schools than in the control schools.

Two years later the children took part in the compulsory standardised Grade 3 literacy tests.  Those in the Talking Stories test schools were still scoring more than 10% higher than their peers in the district.

Following these test results the education department purchased the Talking Stories software and books for EVERY isiXhosa language primary school in the Western Cape!

Children LOVE using technology for learning. It's much easier for teachers to to provide individual work at appropriate levels.  By working through the stories and activities children will cover the entire range of the curriculum.  It's no surprise that The Talking Stories yield such amazing results!

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