“A new way to read. A new way to write,” touts the official website of Booktrack, an American e-book platform that allows reading with soundtracks. The startup, previously backed by PayPal’s Peter Thiel and Park Road Post Productions, today announced that it has launched a classroom feature available on iOS App Store, Google Play and Google Chrome Store. In addition, it has secured US$3 million in funding led by New Zealand-based investment firm Sparkbox Ventures.
As Booktrack enters the education space, its ‘classroom’ feature will allow students free access to soundtracked e-books, according to an official statement. These books include famous classics and contemporary titles, like Romeo and Juliet and The Cloud respectively. Students can also match their stories to some 20,000 free-to-use music and ambient audio tracks, which will be paced to their reading speeds.
Given that Sparkbox Ventures hails from New Zealand, it is no surprise that Booktrack Classroom was launched basis findings from a research project conducted at the University of Auckland. According to Booktrack, out of 248 middle and high school students in the randomised study, those who read the syllabus text with a synchronised soundtrack spent 30 per cent more time reading and recorded a 17 per cent increase in comprehension, than their peers in the control group.
This study only further validates a previous study conducted at New York University in 2011. The results, published by a Liel Leibovitz, noted that out of 41 adults, “virtually all subjects performed moderately to significantly better on information retention tests on Booktrack’s enhanced platform than they did after reading the same text on an unenhanced book reader.”
Launched late last year, Booktrack claims to have more than 300,000 users creating more than 3,600 Booktracks in 30 different languages. These users have also spent more than 2.5 years reading.
Paul Cameron, CEO, Booktrack, noted:
“With the increasing number of distractions available to kids across video games, television, and apps, teachers and parents often struggle to get students excited by reading and writing. Booktrack not only makes reading and writing much more fun, but as our recent study shows, also improves learning. This is why we are making the Booktrack Classroom system free to all schools in order to help teachers improve reading enjoyment and comprehension for their students while meeting Common Core standards.”
e27 has reached out to Sparkbox Ventures for more comments.