What you need to know
- Google's new Read Along app wants to help reluctant readers grow.
- A reading budding Ziya and a badge system will provide reinforcement and motivation respectively.
- For parents, a lack of IAPs and ads may aid in peace of mind.
Alongside a Lens update for learning foreign languages earlier today, Google is also rolling out a new Read Along app to keep our brains engaged while we're at home. As the name implies, the app is meant to build literacy by encouraging children age 5+ to "read along" with verbal and visual feedback as they progress.
Google's Zohair Hyder, Engineering Lead of Read Along, explained:
Read Along helps kids independently learn and build their reading skills with the help of an in-app reading buddy named Diya. As kids read out loud, Diya uses Google's text-to-speech and speech recognition technology to detect if a student is struggling or successfully reading the passage. She gives them positive and reinforcing feedback along the way, just as a parent or teacher would. Children can also tap Diya at any time for help pronouncing a word or a sentence.
Read Along can be used with one child or several with support for multiple profiles. Readers will be rewarded with stars and badges, encouraging them to keep using the app and collecting these rewards.
As of now, the app has been made available in over 180 countries and 9 languages, including English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Hindi.
Being built for children, there aren't any ads or in-app purchases to be found. The app also doesn't need internet access to run, so parents can disable the internet on any Read Along equipped devices to limit what their children can access. Google last month announced a new Play Store section stocked with teacher-approved apps. Read Along seems like it would be a good fit for that section.
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