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Pilot Study at a School in Keswick,
Cumbria, UK

During a visit to South Africa, teacher Donna Walker saw Audiblox in action at a school in Kwa-Zulu Natal. Mrs Walker decided to introduce Audiblox at her school, the Trinity CE Junior School in Keswick, a small town in Cumbria, UK.

In November an Audiblox pilot study commenced. Eleven children, with an average age of 9 years and 9 months, and at the time the poorest readers in the school, were selected for the study. Schoolblox, a classroom version of Audiblox, was used as the method of intervention.

Four times per week, for half an hour before school, these children attended the lessons. When the study ended a few days before Good Friday, a total of 56 half-hour lessons had been conducted.

At the end of the pilot study the parents were sent a questionnaire and asked to judge their children's progress in various areas on a 5-point scale, "1" indicating no improvement and "5" indicating an astounding improvement. Areas that had to be judged were reading fluency, reading comprehension, willingness to read, enjoyment of reading, attitude to homework, ability to concentrate, spelling, handwriting, memory and self-confidence. Below are the average scores that were allocated to the various areas:

Self-confidence 4.54
Willingness to read 4.27
Reading comprehension 4.18
Reading fluency 4.09
Handwriting 4.09
Enjoyment of reading 4.00
Spelling 4.00
Memory 3.91
Ability to concentrate 3.73
Attitude to homework 3.64

Children who do Audiblox often win awards and prizes. The children who participated in this pilot study were no exception. Already at the end of the first term three of the eleven children were chosen by their class teachers to receive awards for having made the most progress in tables tests since October. At the beginning of the third term Daniel was awarded 1st prize and Jack 2nd prize for a home project. Considering that 70 children participated this is a phenomenal achievement.

But the best of all is that each of these children read aloud in front of 300+ people during their school's Easter Service!

The Audiblox class
The Audiblox class at Trinity CE Junior School in Keswick

Commentaries from some of the parents:

Darren:

The Audiblox pilot scheme has brought Darren on 100% in reading, concentration, memory and spelling (and others listed overleaf). His reading ability is now wonderful compared to 6 months ago. He has enjoyed coming every morning and has never moaned about setting off early. Audiblox has been wonderful.

Robyn:

We (myself, husband and Robyn) can not thank Audiblox enough for this pilot scheme. We all agree that initially we were sceptical and found the early start hard work, by the end of the scheme Robyn was happy with the early start. Robyn has improved so much since November, and in some of the areas of improvement such as confidence, we did not even think such areas would change, let alone improve to such a high level.

Audiblox has helped Robyn so much and in so many different areas, we are so glad Robyn took part. We have only one concern, being if this stops so will Robyn's progression. We (including Robyn) back this scheme 100% and hope that it continues, it has helped Robyn so much and we would love this to carry on for Robyn and also to benefit others. If we can do anything to help with the continuation of this project please let us know (except attending class every day!! We'll pass on that).

Daniel:

I think Audiblox has helped Daniel with his reading a lot, and his writing is a lot better. His spelling has improved, but is still below what he should be able to do at this stage. All this has made him more confident in his abilities.

I gave 4 for reading comprehension, as again that has improved, but if there are a lot of hard words to read, he concentrates on getting the words right and doesn't understand the meanings. He says he enjoys reading a lot more but I think he would still sooner play football or watch TV than read.

I gave 3 for willingness to read and attitude to homework, as he knows it is something he has to do and now seems to accept that the more he reads the better he will be at it, but does sometimes put off doing it.

I wasn't sure how to mark memory as he can still be forgetful and his concentration levels can still be low. We have to keep reading sessions and any other extra work he does, short.

Daniel did flag a little with the early morning sessions when he was in The Wizard of Oz because he was overtired, but other than that, I feel the programme has been of benefit to him.

Thank you for your efforts and I would recommend extending the programme within school time.

Teacher Donna Walker wrote:

I am what is known as 'An Experienced Classroom Teacher.' Euphemistically that might also mean that I'm inclined to be cynical and suspicious of programmes which make extravagant claims. In fact, I was intrigued!

So began a twelve month correspondence with Susan du Plessis, and the introduction of a Schoolblox trial at my junior school in Keswick. As Audiblox was untried in the UK, I was (rightly) not allowed to take the children out of lessons, so for thirty minutes, from Monday to Thursday, my group of eleven and I would meet in my classroom before the school day officially started. I knew from the start that this study would have to be far shorter than the recommended minimum time of twenty four weeks, but that its hoped-for success would open the way to a much longer trial in school time. Armed with immense enthusiasm and armfuls of packs of little coloured cubes, I could not have been prepared for the results that were obtained after only fifteen weeks of following the programme. The children averaged a ten month improvement on the NFER Sentence Completion test, and a rise in self esteem that seemed to add a metre to their height. Their teachers were delighted, their parents astounded, and as for me... well, we are about to take a decision to begin Audiblox with an entire class from September. When I put the parents' questionnaires on the Head's desk at the end of March I decided to let the results speak for themselves. Having read them, his comment was, 'Donna, I can't ignore these results. Where do you want to go with this?' Where, indeed? I just want every teacher, experienced or otherwise who has ever sat down late at night and thought, 'There's got to be a better way...' to know that there is, and that it's called Audiblox!