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Let's Read Enables Families to Create Personalized Picture Books
New App Combines the Timeless Ritual of Storytime with Mobile Technology to Make Reading Aloud Easier and More Fun for Everyone
By: 4x4 Studios, LLC
Let's Read was originally conceived by a busy mom, Ava Barnes, who wanted to read aloud with her kids more than her schedule allowed. Because of her work as a lecturer and researcher at Georgia State University, Ava was well-aware of the growing body of research about the many benefits of reading aloud to children, as well as the risks associated with kids spending too much time on digital media.
Ava shared that, "I used to feel like I was resisting a current of digital media. It felt like a media river that carried them towards more and more screen time. Finally, instead of fighting over screen time, we decided to find ways to use screen-time as a beneficial experience for our kids."
After experimenting with different ideas, Ava eventually discovered that her kids loved watching her read stories aloud to them that she had recorded on her iPad. Next, she convinced her husband, Chris, a successful software developer, to build an app that would make it easier to read stories aloud to their kids. After a number of iterations, followed by tests with other families, their perseverance paid off and the Let's Read app is now available for iPhones and iPads on the Apple App Store.
Ava pointed out that, "There are a number of studies that highlight how reading stories aloud not only feels good and helps families bond, it can have lasting cognitive and emotional benefits for a child." The American Academy of Pediatrics is increasingly emphasizing the need to read aloud with young children every day and limit exposure to "over active" programming.
Chris Barnes added that, "During the development process, parents told us that the privacy and security of their family was critical so we designed a unique private, secure network that allows families to share their version of a story with up to 5-Apple iOS devices in their family network, including iPhones & iPads."
For the launch, Thursday, July 19, Let's Read is partnering with August House, an award-winning publisher of folktales and picture books from the oral tradition, exactly the kind of language rich content that is perfect for reading aloud with kids. Steve Floyd, president of August House said that, "When I first met Chris and Ava, I was intrigued that kids preferred to see and hear their parents read stories to them rather than a famous actor like Meryl Streep or Robert DeNiro. I was also impressed that the Alpha test-version of the app had over 182,000 downloads." 4X4 Studios plans to add additional picture books in the months ahead to build out the digital bookshelf.
Ava concluded with "Our hopes are that Let's Read will help families develop a stronger connection. So instead of feeling guilty about the harmful effects of screen-time, parents can feel confident that their kids are watching and listening to language-rich stories that will enhance their emotional and cognitive development."
Let's Read is the first app developed by 4x4 Studios, an Atlanta-based tech studio. 4x4 Studios is committed to developing technology that nurtures a child's cognitive, creative and emotional health while strengthening family relationships.