Reading innovation may help young readers

November 5, 2013

School students may be the next group of readers to benefit from the latest innovation in reading –sound tracks incorporated into e-books.

A research project is underway by the University of Auckland, to assess the impact of Booktrack with a large group of year 7-10 students recruited from several Auckland schools.

BookTrack is a new and engaging way to read by matching synchronised music, sound effects and ambient sound to the of e-books. The technology automatically paces reading speed to the reading experience of the person.

The research is led by Dave Hithersay, head of Biology at Mt Roskill Grammar School and aims to investigate whether sound effects and music linked to a history text developed by Nick Hamilton, (the head of History at Mcleans College), enhances students' comprehension and engagement in reading.

The project is being co-ordinated by the University's School of Nursing with the research supervised by Professor Stuart McNaughton from the Faculty of Education. A group of 260 children are taking part in the six-month randomised controlled trial.

The Booktrack app is expected to increase engagement in reading, comprehension, enjoyment and information retention for students and can be adapted to operate with school texts, and played on computers, mobile phones or tablets.

Researchers are also looking at testing the app on a smaller group of children with learning difficulties to see if it changes their experience and enhances their skills in reading. The trial involves reading a history or other reading assessment text on a computer with or without the Booktrack sound track additions, depending on which group they are randomised to . They then answer multi-choice questions to test recall, memory and enjoyment.

The Booktrack app was developed by North Shore brothers, Paul and Mark Cameron, and is expected to spearhead the next revolution in reading. The app can enrich a reader's experience by providing synchronised background music and sound effects that carefully match the text.

State of the art software created in Auckland automatically adjusts pacing of the audio with the reader's reading speed.
Booktrack has already been marketed in the USA and recently won a 'Most Innovative Company' accolade from Times magazine and was received enthusiastically by both authors and people wanting to create audio tracks.

Explore further: E-readers more effective than paper for dyslexic readers

Related Stories

E-readers more effective than paper for dyslexic readers

September 18, 2013

As e-readers grow in popularity as convenient alternatives to traditional books, researchers at the Smithsonian have found that convenience may not be their only benefit. The team discovered that when e-readers are set up ...

British children's on-screen reading overtakes books

May 16, 2013

For the first time, British children are reading more on computers and other electronic devices than they are reading books, magazines, newspapers and comics, according to a study of nearly 35,000 youngsters published Thursday.

Recommended for you

Important ancient papyrus seized from looters in Israel

October 27, 2016

(—Eitan Klein, a representative of the Israel Antiquities Authority, has announced that an important papyrus document dated to 2,700 years ago has been seized from a group of Palestinian looters who reportedly ...

Ancient parrot fossil found in Siberia

October 26, 2016

(—A Russian paleontologist has discovered a parrot fossil uncovered in Siberia several years ago—the first evidence of parrots living in Asia. In his paper published in Biology Letters, Nikita Zelenkov describes ...

Ancient burials suggestive of blood feuds

October 24, 2016

There is significant variation in how different cultures over time have dealt with the dead. Yet, at a very basic level, funerals in the Sonoran Desert thousands of years ago were similar to what they are today. Bodies of ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.