Augmented Reality in a New Generation of Kids Books

Will augmented reality in picture books significantly change the way children read?

Olaf waves at the reader's camera

A book’s illustration springs into interactive life thanks to augmented reality tech.

Maybe, maybe not. But AR will certainly give parents – and teachers – another tool to make books and reading relevant to children, especially reluctant readers. Indeed, AR may increase the enthusiasm some readers have for books and actually help beginning readers to learn language basics.

While it is early days in the AR book business, our experience with it here at Mercury Connects suggests that it will prosper as publishers and readers grasp its potential.

But first I should explain how augmented reality works in books. Continue reading

Early Literacy Step #2

Step Two: Make Reading a Habit.

Father reads book to a baby

Bedtime is perfect for story time. (Illustration by John Bianchi.)

Make daily bedtime stories and weekly visits to the library part of the family routine.

Kids will learn that reading is an important part of the household routine and they’ll look forward to  to their regular stories.

And parents will find that a book is the perfect bait for getting kids into bed at night.

As my kids got older, the switch to novels made it even harder to skip story time because we all wanted to know what was going to happen next. And our library visits often because scavenger hunts as we tracked down books by our favourite authors and illustrators.

See all 10 kid-literacy steps on YouTube.

This post brought to you by The Troubles with Bubbles, a free multi-touch ebook for the iPad. Check it out here.

Early Literacy Step #1

Step One: Start Reading Early.

Read to kids even when they are babies.

It’s never too early to start reading to kids. (Illustration by John Bianchi.)

It’s never too early to start reading to kids, although you might want to wait until they’ve been born…

Even though they can’t talk yet, babies like the sound of voices, and at some point they’ll start to make sense of the words.

And don’t stop when they learn to read by themselves. Share the books they like to read and read the ones that are still out of their grasp.

I read to my kids right up until they reached the senior elementary grades, and after a long teenage pause, they began reading voraciously again.

See all 10 kid-literacy steps on YouTube.

This post brought to you by The Troubles with Bubbles, a free multi-touch ebook for the iPad. Check it out here.

World Read Aloud Day

Tomorrow (Wednesday March 5) is World Read Aloud Day, a celebration of the joy of reading books to… well, anyone I suppose. Kids. Spouses. Siblings. Pets (although it might be wasted on fish).

Bungalo Books started its read-aloud celebration by launching its own YouTube channel. It features our two StoryTalk videos that offer hope and inspiration to parents of pre-schoolers who want to inspire their children to read.

The Edwards family circa 1954.When a busy parent is reading to a fidgety two-year old, the payoff may seem far away in the future but actually they are building a bond that will last a lifetime. My mom read to me every night after the supper dishes were done and I still remember those evenings curled up beside her on the couch. In turn, I read to all three of my kids until they reached high school (and I remember my grade nine son eavesdropping at his younger sister’s door as we read Harry Potter).

That early exposure to books helped turn me into a lifelong reader — and a writer/editor. So please, check out those videos (one featuring my granddaughter Paige) and spread the word.

Story Talk Videos

This week, Bungalo Books happily unveiled two videos it produced to help parents build their pre-schoolers’ language skills. The two short videos were created for Kingston Literacy and Skills with funding from the Kingston-Cataraqui branch of Rotary International.

Ten Steps to Early LiteracyThe Story Talk project proves that teachers and writers can find an entertaining middle ground when it comes to teaching kids and parents about books.

When literacy experts Deb Nesbitt-Munroe and Susan Riley approached me last summer, they were keen to promote the process of “dialogic reading” to their organization’s clientele of young parents. By the end of our first meeting, I had Continue reading