New powerful app aids reading with children

The Indigenous Literary Foundation (ILF) and Chatty Kidz have teamed up to launch ILF Books, a simple, yet powerful app for reading with children.  

The first featured book, Bangs 2 Jurrukuk, has been written by senior girls from the Tiwi Islands and is a captivating tale which shares traditional Tiwi culture and values of love, courage and ‘One People’.

The customised app will be available free to Indigenous communities nationally and is an enjoyable way for children and adults of all ages to engage in, and share, the joy of reading.

The app works by combining content and video seamlessly between readers, regardless of their location. Chatty Kidz, the developer of the concept and software for the app, is sponsored by Telstra as part of their acclelerator muru-D project.

ILF Books has a number of compelling educational advantages for children in remote communities. These include helping to develop early reading skills, including exposure to print and reading behaviours, as well as building children’s confidence to read aloud and develop important oral language skills.

The app also potentially offers a very real way for communities to stay connected when older children go away to residential schools in major towns and cities, as younger siblings will be able to remain connected to their older brother or sister through shared story time.

How it works

The story is shared and comes to life as pages are turned in real-time by both readers. Words, colours and pictures are all sensitive to touch and highlighted when activated. This widens the scope and educational opportunities for readers to interact and learn.

Karen Williams from the ILF said the initiative brings them one step closer to their goal.

“We believe that Australia’s Indigenous children and families living in remote communities across Australia should have access to the same opportunities as everyone else, yet the big barrier to achieving this is both distance and literacy levels. Providing access to quality books, at the same time as sharing the stories and creating a pleasurable reading experience, is essential. This app is a fun way to not only connect isolated communities through reading, but also to enjoy the experience of combining books with technology. This should appeal to young children in particular.”

Spiros Kotsialos of Chatty Kidz agrees.

“I’m passionate about this project. My background is in publishing and technology, so to combine these two areas in such a practical way is a great opportunity to make a meaningful difference.”

The app is free and available to the general public from 15 April 2014. Try out ILF Books today.

Media enquiries:

Chatty Kidz – Ken Taggart, Founder
phone: 0431 009 975