Children

GetLitt! offers free access to its digital library during the lockdown

A wide variety of genres to choose from

A wide variety of genres to choose from   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

A variety of e-books for children and storytelling videos is now available online

“I usually enjoy reading out to my kids,” says an exhausted parent, “but now it just seems way too much work.” The lockdown is causing parents to wonder how to keep their kids occupied, especially the younger ones. To help them through this time, GetLitt! is giving free access to its gamified digital reading library until April 21.

Interesting challenges and rewards keep the kids hooked

Interesting challenges and rewards keep the kids hooked   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

GetLitt! is a reading app for children between seven and 12 that has a collection of e-books across genres like fairy tales, fantasy, mystery and adventure, humour, STEM, and non-fiction. Founded by Richa Sethi and Priya S Rajive, the idea behind the app was “to make books accessible to kids but also to make the process of reading fun,” says Richa. There are different kinds of challenges – with funky badges like Steady Slug, Persistent Pupa, Book Versed, Book Boss and many more. “The children earn points for every bit of reading that they do, the fun book dares that they attempt, and the book reviews that they write. They can climb up the reading leaderboard and earn badges for the various milestones that they cross.” The badges, says Richa, help children to stay motivated. There are also a variety of activities. Book Dare, for example, has fun trivia questions on each book. If you manage 10 successfully you become an Ace Reader. A child who completes 20 book reviews is a Book Viking.

The initial challenge for Priya and Richa was “to get publishers to believe in a digital reading platform for kids. Many were reluctant but a few immediately got on board. Parents were also worried about digital screen time but we have been able to guide them towards positive digital time for the purpose of reading. We suggest a daily reading of 15-20 minutes on GetLitt! to get kids hooked to reading. We have also launched initiatives like a Reading Olympiad for kids. This helps us stay relevant,” explains Richa.

Storytelling through videos
  • We picked up books from across publishers. The list has picture books, chapter books and even comics. We have brought scary stories, biographies of famous personalities like Kalpana Chawla, Mangal Pande, Gandhi and Ambedkar, and stories about invisible friends, school, and grandparents alive through the videos.
  • It was an experiment to see how best to bring the books from different formats on the screen successfully. We had wonderful storytellers from Secret Passages who came on board to work with us. With its success, we would like to continue with many more storytellers and publishers.

The first thing to do to encourage children to read, emphasises Richa, is to give them “the choice to pick up a book that they wish to read.” She also suggests “discussions on a variety of topics with your child. Do joint readings so that you can discuss characters, plot, what ifs – each book is a treasure trove of so many things to talk about. Use the joint readings as a bonding time to talk about life in general instead of making every book reading an educational process.” She even has a few examples, “Salim Mamoo and Me is about a little girl trying to fit into her bird loving family, whereas Ammachi’s Amazing machines is all about simple machines, and there’s Icky Yucky Mucky that talks about table manners in the craziest way.”

The founders of GetLitt! Priya S Rajive (on left) and Richa Sethi

The founders of GetLitt! Priya S Rajive (on left) and Richa Sethi   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

  • How it began
  • Priya and I are ardent book lovers. So we decided to get people like us together through a book club called Writer’s Bug nine years ago. We met on Thursdays once a fortnight. Having achieved success there, as mothers, we wanted our kids also to discover new books and stories so we launched a literature festival exclusively for children in Mumbai. Here, we met many parents like us who had no clue about the wide range of children’s books that were being published.
  • With the belief that every child has a right to get access to stories, we decided to go digital. That was the only way to reach out to more than 300 million kids in India and make children’s books accessible widely. As a start-up we are constantly going through a cycle of highs and low,s sometimes on a daily basis. We are constantly trying new initiatives like the Reading Olympiad, which received an overwhelming response from schools and parents.

The current lockdown on account of Coronavirus is a new low but also presents us with an opportunity to help children find hope and cheer through books.

GetLitt! can be accessed on www.getlitt.co or downloaded on iPad or Android tablets. The storytelling videos can be found on https://bit.ly/GL-Video

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Printable version | Jun 1, 2020 11:45:35 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/getlitts-digital-library-available-for-free-till-april-21-2020/article31216680.ece

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