Social Impact

The Smith Family

The program started as a low tech service posting physical books to kids who read together on the phone.   Chatty Kids started helping The Smith Family scale their student2student peer2peer reading program in 2014.  Children logged into a web platform on any device and read together during an online call.

It was costing us a fortune to buy books, post them to students & fund the telephone calls! We needed a scalable solution to help 10,000's of kids read better.
Wendy Field
Head of Policy and Programs

The program improves the reading skills of students aged eight to 14 years old.

Those who are two years behind in their reading are paired with trained buddies who work with them to improve their reading skills during an 18-week series of lessons.

The mentoring is provided over the phone with the pair reading from the same book.

Whilst the student2student program has been a wild success, delivering impressive result for those children lucky enough to get a spot.   It was expensive to run!

It consumed a lot of the budget to buy books, manage the large library and post book packs to the children every few months.

The Smith Family didn’t want to just help a few kids, they wanted to help ALL kids in Australia who need extra reading assistance.

This is where Chatty Kids joins the story, as we provide an online library of leveled books (1,000’s in the library).    Kids can read any book they choose together on any device, during an online call.

It was good reading to someone that I didn't know because they didn't judge me when I made mistakes.
Reading student
student2student participant

For more than a decade student2student has consistently realised reading improvements in participants. Reading improvement is assessed through the implementation of a pre and post program reading test and surveys with all participants (readers, buddies and Volunteer Supervisors), including feedback from parents. Since its inception, the program has proven the value of online peer tutoring.

In 2016, a detailed analysis of data for 728 student2student participants was carried out. Students, buddies and parents were also asked to complete surveys about their experience of the program.

  • 97% of students improved their reading
  • 90% of students report that they enjoy reading more now
  • 88% of students agreed they read more having completed the program
  • 89% students agreed the program helped them feel more confident with school work
  • 94% of parents reported children felt better about themselves
  • 95% of parents report their child’s reading has improved

Today, using Chatty Kids children all over Australia log onto the system and access 1,000’s of leveled books.

3 times a week they call their reading buddy where, during the call, they read to each other out loud.

The reading buddy helps the reading student where needed, correcting a mistake, sounding out a word or explaining what ot means.

Afterwards they both spend sometime discussing the story.   The reading buddy asks questions of the student that help to reinforce comprehension.

The best part about being involved with student2student [is] knowing that I was helping my buddy, not just in school but for the rest of her life.
Reading Buddy
Student2student participant

The future looks exciting for The Smith Family’s student2student program, as it scales to help more and more children across Australia.

The system measures each child’s progress as they work through the program and practice their reading.   Reports are shared between students, parents, teachers and program administrators.

Importantly this data proves the value delivered by The Smith Family to 1,000’s of disadvantaged children across Australia.

Are you an organisation that wants to run an online peer-2-peer reading program like The Smith family?     Then click the button below and complete the form, our team at Chatty Kids will be in touch soon.

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