COPENHAGEN, Denmark--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In the U.S., 21% of all adults read below 4th grade level. One of the reasons for this is that many American schools teach children how to read by having them painstakingly learn the alphabet and spellings before they are allowed to read and write about subjects that interest and engage them. Changing this model is the WriteReader app that uses the Write to Read approach to help kids become readers by first teaching them to write. The app just received $800K in funding from Danish publisher, Lindhardt & Ringhof, owned by Egmont, a leading media group in the Nordic region, with a presence in 30 countries. In Denmark more than 700 schools already have access to WriteReader and are changing the way children are taught to read and write.
“If a child is really into dinosaurs and wants to write about that, it’s very difficult if the only letters the child knows are “a” and “b”. WriteReader uses multiple visual and auditory tools to help the child sound out and write books on topics that interest them from day one,” says WriteReader founder Babar Baig.
The WriteReader app is a result of two years of scientific research with leading Scandinavian scientists studying the Write to Read method and turning the findings into an engaging online learning platform for developing early literacy. Swedish studies show that children taught to read by the method were able to write at grade 3 level by the end of grade 1. Reading skills were improved considerably and students in the test group wrote longer texts with better structure, clearer content, and a more elaborate language.
Primary Reading Specialist, Pam Weldon, M.Ed in Boca Raton, FL, has tested the WriteReader app with her first graders:
“The WriteReader app is a great resource to introduce process writing to young children leading to better reading ability. Even my most reluctant students love to use it to create personal narratives. This app promotes proper phonemic spelling and easily improves literacy outcomes for my young writers. My first graders become more confident in their ability to write and read, as they write what they say and read what they have written.”
It is WriteReader’s mission is to turn children into creator of stories – not just consumers. And to do this in joyful environment involving the parents as teachers, having them apply the same method to writing as when they teach their children to talk, says Babar Baig:
“It’s in this “real life literacy” process that we capture the child’s universe and help them verbalize it. Our research also shows that if the child’s writing has a purpose - such as sharing it with others - the motivation to write increases. This is not a babysitter app, but a platform that invites the child’s community to play an active part in the learning process. The feedback and validation encourage kids who want to create more books.”
The new version of the WriteReader app now launching in America is the world’s first literacy based platform for children to share self-created books with family members and a trusted community. The app’s new library feature enables the children to make their books available privately or publicly while also accessing books created by others.
Kate Conway, mother of a five-year-old using the WriteReader app, says her daughter learned at least five new words from writing her first short book:
“It is fun and enjoyable. Kids don’t really think of this as work, but you as a parent can be confident that they are getting the right input supporting their reading and writing. For my daughter to share it with her grandmother, knowing she would read the story that same night, was a fantastic thing for her to be able to do.”
The WriteReader iPad app is available in the App store from today in a freemium version allowing users to create their two first books for free. After this there is a $4.99 in-app purchase for unlimited use. Pro version with volume discounts licensed to schools is also available with Pro features including cloud storage, so kids can create books at school and access them from home. Android and web version will be launched in March 2015.
Based in Copenhagen, Denmark, WriteReader develops online educational tools that improve the learning capabilities of young children. The company’s first app, Write to Read, is the #1 sold educational app in Denmark, has been endorsed by Apple on all Scandinavian app stores, declared the best educational app by leading Danish news media, and nominated the "best innovation in Denmark" by the Ministry of Education and Innovation. Close to fifty percent of all Danish schools are now using the app.
Children can use the app’s recording function to tell their stories, which subsequently can be put into writing through WriteReader’s speak to text feature. Other key features are the phonetic keyboard and an interface allowing the parent, teacher and/or older sibling to write the text in conventional writing below the child’s version. When the child compares his or her writing with the writing of the mentor, the child learns and remembers the spelling of often used words as well as significant nuances and elements of the written language.
The WriteReader app is Common Core aligned. K-5 The company was founded in 2012 by Janus Madsen, Babar Baig and Ulrik Jensen. For more information, visit http://www.writereader.com/