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NSF-Funded Digital Library for Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers Now Available on App Stores

THIS POST WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON THIS SITE Click Here To Read Entire Article

CHICAGO, Nov. 28, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — ReadAskChat, a National Science Foundation funded early-learning system, launched its digital library for children 0-4 that embeds on-demand guidance for parents and caregivers in a method of interactive (or “dialogic”) reading—an activity the American Academy of Pediatrics says is vital for children’s development.

The research-based ReadAskChat method uniquely fosters child-adult interactions about stories, poems, and math and science features at three developmental levels—baby, toddler, and preschooler. Open-ended conversation starters and prompts for singing, chanting, and imaginative play promote word acquisition and other prereading and school-readiness skills. An option to view conversation starters in Spanish and story text in English honors the home language in Spanish-speaking homes while providing early exposure to English.

Research Base
The brain and social-science research underlying the ReadAskChat method is discussed in a white paper that may be viewed on the ReadAskChat website.  The ReadAskChat format differs from other digital storybooks. “Young children only learn language and social-emotional behaviors from their caregivers, not from digital sources,” explains Carolyn Saper, ReadAskChat cofounder and president. “So we designed ReadAskChat to be parent-mediated. This means it’s the very opposite of a ‘babysitting app.’ There are no voiceovers or distracting bells and whistles. Instead, ReadAskChat is something parents and children do together. We only include artwork and features that can appeal to adults as well as to children. We know from experience that when adults are having fun with stories, their kids will, too.”

Social-justice Mission 
The goal of ReadAskChat is to make high-quality children’s books accessible to families from all cultural and economic backgrounds and to guide them in ways to have meaningful conversations about the ideas they evoke. The ReadAskChat dual business model reaches individual families through app stores while offering bulk subscriptions to community organizations and schools that focus on early learning and literacy and/or parenting education. Institutions also receive a rich set of training materials to support parents, home visitors, and teachers in implementing a strong—and enjoyable—ReadAskChat program.

About ReadAskChat™: Cofounders Carolyn Saper and Alice Letvin each has 30+ years experience in PK–12 literary publishing; teacher professional development; literacy assessment; and literature-based language arts curricula. Their collaboration includes leading the creation of the Junior Great Books Curriculum of Interpretive Reading, Writing, and Discussion and Read-Aloud Program, which have been recognized as groundbreaking and exemplary programs that extended the benefits of inquiry-based learning to classrooms with diverse learners. The distinguished ReadAskChat advisory board includes early-education researchers

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