Ziptales

Ziptales is an online educational program designed to help children love reading. It offers rich content for schools, libraries and home use.
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Ziptales is an online literacy “library” designed for school, library, and home use. Ziptales has been a leader in the field of online literacy for more than 15 years.

It is based on the latest research about how children develop and sustain a love of reading. The Ziptales “library” was built by trained teachers with the express purpose of making reading a pleasurable and lifelong experience.

The Research
At the core of the Ziptales mission is the recognition that children will do best when they read for “for pleasure, to be informed and to perform a task” (Beverly Tyner, The Literacy Jigsaw Puzzle, IRA 2012).

For example, a child who reads a scary story, or a mystery ‘whodunnit’, will instinctively engage with the reading. Reading the story (for pleasure) will raise their skill level without them even being aware of the process. The Voiceover
All appropriate text has a voiceover – read by a professional actor. This is a great way not only of modelling good reading, but of sustaining interest in the text.

Testing and feedback
Each story ends with a fill the gaps test (a relatively easy quiz) and a multiple choice (more challenging).

If the child does not score more than 5/10, they are prompted to “Have another go”. They can reread the text, and get 10/10 – in short, they can find their own way to “master” the text. This is after all how reading normally works. Even adults reread selectively to extract the most out of the experience.

The Role of the Teacher
Ziptales puts the teacher (or parent) at the centre of all decision making about the individual child’s needs. Only they really know which stories, or poems, or lessons, are appropriate to their class or child. No automated reading program can possibly know this.

Ziptales encourages teachers and parents to see it as a vast “library” of possible reading experiences, out of which they can pick the material which best suits their children.

We also recommend teachers use the “What’s my Ziptales reading level?”” test to fine tune their recommendations for a child’s reading list (go to the Staffroom and look at Reading Levels, which explains what to do).

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