New app developed to accelerate early-years literacy

Schools can find out more about an innovative app to accelerate early reading. 

Edtech startup Zaprendo is announcing the launch of its learn-to-read-app, Sounds English Phonetics, at this year’s technology-education show, Bett.

The app is designed to boost reading achievement and early-stage literacy by teaching pupils with a reading age of between six and nine years to utilise 92 commonly occurring grapho-phonemes (written sounds).

Children learn by watching a video that demonstrates how to say the written sounds through video, in either British or American English, with learning consolidated through the in-app formative assessment. 

A calendar tracks pupils’ progress and the app’s algorithms adapt learning to suit the child’s individual level and pace, encouraging self-driven learning and providing a personalised learning experience that encourages them to become confident, independent readers.

Inés Noé, co--founder of Zaprendo, said: “The UK and the US have remained outside the top 20 countries in literacy skills since 2006, with the latest PISA results revealing that both countries are still significantly lagging behind. The Sounds English Phonics app can change this - with research already proving its effectiveness.”

Alan Wagstaff, educationalist and co-founder of Zaprendo, added: “Sounds English uses a synthetic, phonics approach. It allows students to work at their own pace and cleverly adapts so that only written sounds unknown to them are presented for learning. The speech production videos, in American and British English mean the app can also support learners who don’t have English as their first language.” 

Research carried out by Zaprendo and reviewed by the University of Surrey has prove that the app is a high-impact learning tool for children and is 2.8 times more effective than standard literacy approaches. 

The study compared a test group of eight and nine-year-olds using the app alongside their standard literacy class against a control group not using the app over a 30-day period.

The results revealed that every student in the test group improved their reading age, with the majority gaining more than a year within the 30 days. In comparison, only three per cent of the control group not using the app improved by more than one year in reading age.

Alan will be on hand at Bett (25-28 January) and will be delivering a series of short talks for parents and teachers.