A New Way to Share Stories With Your Kids
With schools closed and entire countries locked down, the coronavirus pandemic has shifted much of the challenge of educating and entertaining children at home. Scholastic websites and entertaining apps have never seemed more relevant!
Hoot! is a new app that blends tradition and technology to promote childhood literacy—and inspire family fun. This app gives parents and grandparents an enjoyable new way to engage kids with reading. The app allows users to record, save and share stories with family members even if separated by distance. The app comes pre-loaded with a collection of classic stories and fairy tales— such as Rapunzel, Cinderella and Puss in Boots—that parents and grandparents can read aloud and record, also users can easily add musical tracks and sound effects to the stories.
In the United States, one in four kids will grow up not knowing how to read. “Parents and teachers have long known that reading aloud to kids is perhaps the best way to build early language skills and literacy,” said New York City-based Co-Founder Luis Vinuales, president of Hoot!, a startup with offices based in New York, Barcelona and Buenos Aires. Reading aloud is also credited with strengthening the parent-child relationship and brain development, according to Reach Out and Read, a Boston non-profit. “We created an app that makes reading aloud possible even when parents can’t be with their kids on the couch or at bedtime.”
Vinuales originally conceived the app as a way for parents who travel frequently for work to stay engaged with their kids—and for kids to hear a familiar voice anytime, day or night. Now, in the pandemic, he sees even more utility for Hoot! “In the age of social distancing, when so many grandparents are connecting with family members through technology, Hoot! gives older family members a new way to share stories they love with their grandkids. And when grandparents hear a Hoot! from their grandchild, they can also appreciate how much the child’s reading skills are developing.”
To help close the literacy gap, Hoot! is partnering with the World Literacy Foundation, a global non-profit based in Australia and whose efforts use literacy to emancipate young people from poverty. They believe that education is a human right regardless of geographic location and provide free access to school materials. Through its partnership with Hoot!, the app and the foundation will work together to incorporate audio Books in their Sun Books and Dingo app to reach children in remote communities in Africa and Colombia.