Think learning to read is all about printed books? Not anymore.
A Dedham company dedicated to innovative education recently rolled out two free bi-lingual smart device apps aimed at teaching literacy to pre-school students and first and second graders.
FableVision announced the apps on its blog this week. The first, “Water Wonders,” teaches first and second graders about science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics through the story of twin siblings Sydney and Symon.
The authors of the book the app is based upon are twins as well – Dedham residents Peter and Paul Reynolds – who are both CEOs of FableVision.
“Literacy is not just about reading, not just about handing a kid a book; there is a need to do more things – listen, talk, read, and write, or express yourself,” said Paul Reynolds, who is also a Dedham selectman.
FableVision teamed up with Reading is Fundamental and the National Writing Project, both national organizations geared toward reading, writing and literacy.
Originally, the books were produced as ordinary print books and distributed to underserved families, but in 2008, Reading is Fundamental lost federal funding and had to come up with a less expensive alternative to warehousing and distributing books, according to Paul Reynolds.
And so Reading Is Fundamental 2.0 was born, which focused on adapting the physical resources the organization put forward into the digital world, Reynolds said.
FableVision adapted “Water Wonders” as well as “Our Book by Us” about a family creating a book about themselves, which is geared toward preschoolers.
“The great thing about this is that all of these are available for free as long as people have a smart device, which are becoming increasingly ubiquitous,” Paul Reynolds said.
The apps both feature animations and games for children to interact with as they use the apps. Reynolds said the games and animations are designed to entertain, but not to distract.
They also have English and Spanish narrators. Reynolds said he was particularly proud to have Broadway actor Chester Gregory as one of the narrators.
Reynolds said that books still have their place in literacy education, but that digital apps enhance learning opportunities.
“The exciting thing about digital technology is the kids have more opportunities to express themselves and create things,” he said.
He added that the most important tool remains having an engaged adult as part of the process.
The apps are available on Google Play, the Apple App Store, and the Amazon App Store.
Fore more information, visit fablevisionstudios.com.