Sitwat Maroof     19th May 2020
Keep your kids learning to read during quarantine with Google’s “Read Along” app!
In these uncertain times, when kids all over the world are out of schools and getting used to online teaching and learning processes, Google steps up! That’s right, Google just launched the “Read Along” app to help young kids in 180 countries to develop their reading skills as a way to keep them academically engaged during the lockdown.
This new app is basically a global extension of an extant application called “Bolo” which was only available in India. The new version of the said app is now available worldwide as “Read Along” supporting nine languages in total. Google is definitely looking forward to some constructive response from all 180 countries where everyone – especially in low-income countries – is going through stressful times due to COVID-19.
"Read Along" uses speech recognition and text-to-speech technology to prompt kids to learn advanced reading skills and keep improving. Today, children of all age groups are facing serious disruption to their way of life. With schools shut down for an unforeseeable period, kids are having to make major adjustments in all areas of their established routines which is also affecting their mental health.
Amid the pandemic lockdown, the schooling systems all over the world have been negatively affected which has given way to growing anxiety in parents about the halt to their children's social and academic development.
With "Read Along", children can remain academically interested and engaged during the quarantine period. It will have them focused on educational goals and give them fun means to enjoy being at home while still pursuing new learning aims.
The fun part is, there is a reading assistant in the app who keeps children engagingly connected when they work their way through reading sessions and games. What’s more, this assistant motivates them by helping them out with pronunciations, meanings, context, etc., while at the same time keeps children from building frustration and quitting.
More importantly, “Read Along” encourages the concept of positive reinforcement by introducing prizes as the skills progress via mini-word puzzles and games.
To make the application child friendly, Google ensures privacy by not accumulating data on its servers. Besides, your kids can use it offline as well, that is, they don't have to have access to the internet in order to use it which is great in these times.
Another good thing about the "Read Along" application is that there are no ads or other sales-y elements in it for parents to be concerned about. Even though the app has more or less 500 stories with an expansion of books and stories in place, kids can get more stories of their choice at zero cost from the internet.
While we are on the subject of education, Google has been working hard to improve the accessibility from the onset of coronavirus pandemic. It has provided free access to advanced features in G Suite, G Suite for Education, and Google Meet until September 2020 to make activities during lockdown easy and accessible.
On top of this, Goggle has given away more than 4000 Chromebooks together with organizing resource pages to facilitate both teachers and parents to keep kids engaged in healthy and studious pursuits with the help of Google products. The launch of the current application is in line with Google’s COVID-19 pandemic response.
Equipped with "Read Along" and other Google Products, you can continue with your child's education, development, and constructive engagement, albeit, differently during the quarantine period.
Sitwat is a technical writer of significant expertise and experience. She has written on the subjects of futuristic technologies, web/software development, cloud computing, cyber-security, data science, amongst others. She assists clients to reach their targeted audiences successfully.