If your young reader likes technology and books, give them the best of both worlds with Readalong. A new service launched on Storyweaver — the open source, digital platform of multilingual children’s stories from Pratham Books — it allows children to read along with simple illustrated stories.
Think karaoke for books: each word is highlighted as the narrator reads, and when the child is done (at their pace), they can tap a button and move on to the next page. The idea came about after plenty of research and feedback from regular users, especially to be of help to children from low-income backgrounds, whose vocabulary is much lower than average for their age. The stories have been picked from existing books on the platform, making sure that the text and subjects lent themselves to being read aloud. Each is less than five minutes long, and is meant for reading levels one and two.
Purvi Shah, head of digital initiatives at Praham Books, says, “It is also meant as a resource for teachers, especially in rural areas. Currently, about 150 books have been launched in Hindi and English, with Marathi and Kannada versions to be added in a few months.” Based on the response, the number of stories too will be expanded, she says. In the next three to four months, the stories will also be shared on WhatsApp and uploaded on YouTube.