Google’s Read Along app, which aims to improve early age literacy, was initially launched in India. But earlier this year, they expanded it to more than 180 countries and added nine languages to its system to help children’s reading skills. Now that some schools are opting to have kids learn from home or do blended learning, the app becomes even more useful. And so Google is bringing a few more improvements to the app, including support for Arabic and improvements in look and features.
Read Along says that more than 32 million stories have been read on the app and more than 3 million hours have been spent there trying to improve their reading skills. More importantly, they say that their internal analysis shows an improvement of 38 to 88% in the reader’s oral reading fluency after they spent 100 minutes reading on the app. In India, the assessment is that 40% of students who used the app saw an improvement in one or more reading levels.
So the app is now adding a few improvements to help kids read better. It now supports Arabic which is apparently one of the most requested languages to be added on the app. They have also brought a “refreshing new look” for the content library, with its more than 700 unique books across all languages. For kids who are learning to read in multiple languages, it’s now easier to switch or get phonics support when they tap a word on the story.
Google is also celebrating International Literacy Day the whole month of September. They’re encouraging parents to read to and with their kids and share stories that were written by the kids. They will be publishing some of the submissions on the app itself. They’re also providing a handbook for parents and educators so they can use the app in their lesson plans during this time of blended learning.
If you have a kid that’s trying to be a better reader, you can download the Read Along app to help them in their journey. The key is also for parents to be more involved in this journey and the app is designed to help with that as well.