Reading Aloud: A fear of fiction or failure

Reading Aloud: A fear of fiction or failure

Reading Aloud: A fear of fiction or failure

Throughout fiction it’s often the introverts that become the quiet heroes. The ones that turn their shyness into a superpower. Think Matilda, Boo Radley and Bilbo Baggins – they all find their inner strength from their introverted nature. And their characters reassure young readers in their company, that they too can overcome the anxieties caused by their shyness.

Reading about the adventures of these protagonists to themselves can be a comfort to a shy child. But reading a few pages aloud to their class can be a game-changer, not only to their confidence but to their enjoyment and perceptions of reading on the whole.

To a shy child, being asked to read even a sentence aloud can be the greatest challenge to overcome.

Maybe they’re embarrassed.

Maybe they’re scared of saying the wrong thing, worried they’ll look silly or be judged by their classmates.

Maybe it’s the attention they don’t like – the spotlight suddenly shining on them, sentence by sentence. Whatever the reason, the fear is the same.

As is the sensation of butterflies in their tummy, flushed cheeks, sweaty palms and quivering voice – all unwelcome symptoms that tar a love of stories by association. And all avoidable.

Reading aloud should be fun – not feared

As a parent you can remember your own experience of assemblies, school plays and classroom reading. How did those experiences shape your adult life?

Reading aloud is a life-skill. Presenting to an audience and being able to communicate confidently is not only valuable academically but personally too. It helps us with exams, job interviews and gives us reassurance just re-reading documents for clarity on a daily basis.

Anxiety builds quickly and a bad experience at school, for a shy child, can have a huge impact on their adult life. But there’s one word that can stop fear in its tracks: Fonetti.

Ultimate app for reading aloud

Fonetti offers a private platform for children to practice reading aloud. It’s a world of stories, fun and fiction that helps build confidence through praise and rewards, far from the ears of judging peers or a classroom environment. It’s a reading revolution that’s taking the world by storm and building confidence by the minute.

Approved by the Department for Education’s Hungry Little Minds campaign. Fonetti is the world’s first listening bookshop. And right now, it’s the reading assistant available to every home and is the technology behind interactive reading.

Think of it as karaoke, but for speech rather than song. Children choose a story and start reading aloud. When they get the words right, they turn green. If they get stuck, they double tap for help. So, they can practice again and again, with confidence – as there’s no one else listening to them but themselves. When they finish a book, they win rewards, stars and fanfares…and soon start to love reading.

Mum of three, Kelly Williams explains:

“Freddie’s always been a shy little boy – he loves school, don’t get me wrong, but he’s quite happy to let others put their hand up and take the lead. Having an older brother and sister, he’s used to others speaking for him in one way.

My husband and I thought school would help him come out of his shell a little and weren’t worried about his school work until he had to learn lines for his school assembly. I’ll never forget how he came home in bits. He knew the words and could read them to himself but just struggled to say them aloud – even to his big brother. So, we tried to find him some help and thankfully found Fonetti.

After just two days of using the app, something changed. It was as if he’d found his voice for the first time and would take himself off to the sofa to read but aloud. I remember us both putting shopping away in the kitchen and hearing Freddie’s voice in the living room as he read. 

I’ll be honest, it made me a bit emotional…but watching him in his school play a week later made me even more. I couldn’t have been prouder. His voice didn’t boom like the other kids but he said his lines out loud without a wobble and with a smile. We’ve not doubt that was helped by Fonetti.”

Independent but informed

Fonetti gives children the freedom to read without needing support from an adult. But that doesn’t mean you can’t keep track of their progress. Fonetti keeps parents, like you, up to date with what your children are reading. You’ll receive regular weekly updates that tell you:

  • how long your child has read for
  • which stories they’ve read
  • the number of times a book has been chosen
  • and what words they’ve struggled with.

It also tells you when they’ve reached a new reading level. Designed by speech recognition experts at the University of Edinburgh, Fonetti can recognise readers speaking English as a second language, those with dyslexia and SEN.

It also senses when a child is shy by how many pauses they take and how softly they speak. It’s that intuitive. So, it can support every reader individually and allow them to read at their own pace.

Together we can turn timid readers into confident speakers of the future. Ones that love to talk to an audience and love to share a story.

Let Fonetti be the start of theirs.

The reading-assistant ready to reach your pupils

The reading-assistant ready to reach your pupils

The reading-assistant ready to reach your pupils

Teaching is a vocation.

We know to many of you it’s more than just a job: it’s a calling.

That’s why you go above and beyond for your pupils. Which is why these current times are so challenging – not because of what you need to do to get your job done, but because of what you want to get done to achieve the same standards of care.

Right now, many teachers like you are busier than ever – setting work remotely to cater for a wide variety of needs and abilities.

And it’s hard.

After all, Covid wasn’t part of your plan for this year and to say it’s upset the status quo would be an understatement.

Your priority is the children in your care.

The ones that need your support on so many levels. The ones that need structure, stability, routine and a professional teacher.

In a normal classroom environment of course, you’d have more support. Your TAs would be by your side throughout the term – the team you can lean on for support too.

But things are different now.

Instead of your colleagues, you’re relying on parents to provide the teaching support your pupils need, as best as they can. Many will be struggling. They’re not trained like you and home-schooling will be way out of their comfort zone.

They’ll also be juggling full-time work on top of their new ‘teaching assistant’ status and looking for as much support as you can give them. And that’s what you’re currently doing – setting themes for the week, providing maths resources, English exercises and injecting as much enthusiasm into every day as you possibly can.

But what about literacy?

We all know that, as adults, it’s creative arts that we’re all turning to throughout lockdown. To music, art, drama and literature as an escape.

And our children are no different.

The pages of a story provide unlimited adventures and the distractions that they need, but how can you monitor their reading at home?

In your classroom you’d listen to each child read.

You know which stories they enjoy the most and you know who the confident readers in your class are. You know who the shy children are, the ones who need more encouragement and the ones who struggle to read aloud when the words dance on the page before them.

The ones who stumble at even the simplest of sentences.

They’re the ones missing you right now.

Missing the 1-2-1 support and the confidence boost you give them.

But there is a way you can still help support them.

And it’s less complicated than you think. It’s Fonetti App for iPad and Android tablet.

It’s the reading assistant available to every home, every classroom and is the technology behind interactive reading.

Approved by the Department for Education’s Hungry Little Minds campaign as a platform for children to practise their reading, Fonetti is the world’s first listening bookshop.

Children choose a story and start reading aloud. When they get the words right, they turn green. If they get stuck, they double tap for help. When they finish a book, they win rewards, stars and fanfares.  

Parents will be grateful for you sharing this resource. Not only will it help build their child’s confidence reading aloud, it will improve their literacy and allow them to read aloud without needing an adult (so they gain precious time or a tea break).

But it’s not only parents that benefit.

Imagine the difference this could make to your class when they return

We know you’re under pressure in the working day already. You need to clone yourself and there just aren’t enough hours. But Fonetti can reduce your workload and provide in-depth analytics on how your pupils are progressing. 

With Fonetti you can say goodbye to traditional book logs. Instead you can keep up to date with the progress of every child in your class with one simple click. Fonetti can tell you: 

  • how long each pupil has spent on the app
  • which stories they’ve read
  • the number of times a title has been chosen
  • and what words they’ve struggled with.

Designed by linguistic professors at the University of Edinburgh, Fonetti can tell the difference between children speaking English as a second language, those with dyslexia and SEN. So, it can support every reader individually and allow them to read at their own pace. It also means your TAs can focus their time elsewhere in the classroom – giving you back valuable resource. Don’t just take our word for it though, see what your peers have to say.

Digital natives during lockdown

The generation of pupils missing school throughout this pandemic are the ones who were born with technology at their fingertips. They expect instant feedback for their efforts – the classroom provides this but so does Fonetti.

Nicky Nash, teacher and author explains:

‘Fonetti has tremendous potential to help both teachers and pupils. It provides a platform for pupils to practise their independent reading, enhanced by the immediate feedback and reassurance of Fonetti’s clever ‘listening’ technology. Research has shown that feedback is one of the most powerful tools in the classroom, and as a teacher myself, I know how great the impact is on pupils’ learning when feedback is given instantaneously. Of course, in an ideal world, this feedback would be provided by a teacher, but in a classroom set up of one teacher and thirty pupils, it’s a real challenge faced by all schools, and one that technology can assist with.’

We asked Nicky what impressed her most about Fonetti and what features she believes are most important to teachers:

‘Fonetti have designed their app to be so easy to use. I particularly love the rewards section. Each reader can see how many minutes they have read for, the number of books they have read, and the number of days that they have read daily. It’s a simple, but effective way to celebrate each moment that is spent reading. The star- rating they receive after reading each book is also a useful way for pupils to see how well they have read each book, and a great incentive to improve further.

The fact that the app is inviting and user-friendly will ensure its success in any classroom
Once an established part of pupils’ reading routines, teachers will have access to useful data such as a percentage of accuracy for each individual book, minutes spent on each book and the number of times a pupil has read a specific title. This can all be used to help inform a teacher’s judgment about each pupil’s reading ability. Teachers can also use Fonetti to see which of their pupils are not spending enough time reading, which can be a useful indicator to explain why a child is making slower progress than expected.’

Fonetti bridges a gap between teaching and technology 

Technology, and the world around it, is changing at an exponential rate, yet our education system has changed very little in comparison.

Nicky explains:

Over the last decade, I have seen Primary schools slowly becoming more innovative, and educators are constantly finding better ways to use technology to provide more engaging, more relevant learning experiences for their pupils. However, there are schools where a typical classroom environment still consists of rows of desks, where each pupil sits with a book and a pen or pencil. This is not dissimilar to the classroom set up over one hundred years ago.  Can this really be the best way to teach today’s pupils? Our performance in International league tables suggests not. By truly embedding technology such as Fonetti into everyday teaching and learning, it will not only engage our pupils better, resulting in greater learning, but will also support teachers to make rapid and accurate assessments of pupil’s reading abilities.’ 

Look forward with Fonetti

Covid has interrupted all of our lives. It’s taken away the school environment, the playground, visits to the library and the world as we knew it – for a little while.

But, like you, we know that doesn’t mean it can interrupt the opportunity to learn.

Keep your classroom connected with Fonetti.