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Our digital trial makes reading more fun for young students

The way students learn is changing. Today’s kids are reading e-books and using online libraries. The digital world is bringing opportunities which make learning even more fun. So we’ve been trialing a new digital format for our student2student reading program, which is getting great results.

student2student pairs students who are up to two years behind in their reading with trained student buddies who read with them to improve the younger student’s reading skills. The traditional version of the programs run through home phones and with mobile phones and talk time donated by our major corporate partner Optus.

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student2student participant

Our new digital format gives students access to a wider range of books. Using the online service Chatty Kids, readers and their buddies get instant access to a library of e-books, read-along videos, a shared screen and voice-calling capabilities.

It was fun to be a part of trying out a new way to learn ... The use of technology is growing bigger and bigger in today’s way of learning,” said 17 year old Felicity, a reading buddy.

Already over 150 students have taken part in the digital trial, with another 280 students participating this year. Results are strong with 98% of participants who complete the program improving their reading.

The reading program is unbelievable … Oscar will not read to me at all, but once he gets on that [program] he is a completely different child. Now he looks forward to those times he reads with his buddy,” said Marika, whose eight year old son is completing student2student digital.

"Oscar’s having a ball with it … and even his teacher can see the difference in his reading.”

Research shows that one-third of disadvantaged families don’t have access to technology and the internet. But with such a positive response to the trial, we’re exploring ways to ensure more students can take part in the future.

“A significant benefit of our digital model is that participants can have instant access to a greater range of books,” said Wendy Field, Head of Policy and Programs at The Smith Family.

For more about student2student, read how it helped Jared to overcome reading difficulties because of his speech impairment.

We're not only teaching children how to read, but also how to enjoy reading
Wendy Field, Head of Policy and Programs - The Smith Family

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