A love of reading is something I have always tried to foster in my children. Since they were babies there have always been lots of books around for them and we have read before bed most nights. Reading really is the key to opening up a world of opportunities and knowledge. The Department of Education, however, has some shocking statistics about the weak reading skills that our children are at risk of having – they cite figures 20% of children aged 11 who aren’t reading for pleasure in a 2015 survey.

Fiction Express is innovative online book platform that connects children with professional authors, encouraging reading for pleasure through fun co-creation of stories, improving lifelong learning outcomes. Books can be read online, printed off

Our eldest, who is 11, hasn’t really got that love of reading.. yet. He loves me reading to him, audio books and flicking through nonfiction books. Reading is almost always done under duress. Recently he was identified as having dyslexia tendencies which did not surprise us at all. His comprehension skills are really good but it is just getting him to read in the first place that is the issue!

On the other hand, the 8-year-old loves reading and it isn’t a challenge to him at all. He flies through spelling tests with just a glance at the words. In some ways, I wonder if his natural aptitude doesn’t help with his brother’s reluctance.

What is Fiction Express all about?

There are a few elements to Fiction Express but the main one is the chapters that are published each week. There are always three books “live” – different levels for different reading ages – age 6, age 8 and age 10. There are also other books from lots of different genres whatever your taste.

The books are engaging, well written and inspirational.

Noah, who is 8, really enjoyed the “live chapter” aspect of the website. You read the latest chapter of the book and then can vote, based on three options, what happens next. The following week you find out which option won the vote and can read the next chapter.

At the end of each chapter, there is a comprehension test to make sure that you have understood what you have read. This consists of 10 questions.

He was reading all three levels of books as he loved it so much!

How would it be useful in an education setting?

Children have their own login to access the whole of the site and read either the live books or any of the many other books, that are grouped by genre or ability. The teacher can track which books have been read and also the comprehension score.

Teachers or educators have their own log in where they can view the children that they have set up on their system. There are also lots more educational resources online for each of the chapters so you will not be short of activities!

There is also the opportunity for children to converse with the authors via the blog. This really brings the whole reading experience to life!

What we thought!

Our reluctant reader loved reading online! His reading was fluent and clear and he didn’t stumble over words as much as he did in a paper copy. It could have been the novelty of reading from a computer but Fiction Express also has functions to change the font and background of the text, which can help dyslexic students.

Voting for the next chapter was really well received by our younger son and he looked forward to the next chapter to see if the winning storyline was his choice.

We give Fiction Express a huge thumbs up and have recommended it to the boys school to investigate. It is an innovative and modern concept and anything that encourages and supports a love of reading can only be a good thing in my opinion.

 

What do you think? Is this something you or your school use or would be interested in?

 

 

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