Google Launches A New App That’ll Help Improve Your Kid’s Reading Skills

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As per the ASER 2018 report, of all the students enrolled in grade 5 in rural India, only about half can confidently read a grade 2 level textbook. Lack of reading ability can significantly impact further education, and ultimately the children’s ability to realise their full potential.

In regard to that, yesterday Google launched a free app called “Bolo”. This app was created so that that parents can help their children studying in primary grade to improve their Hindi and English reading skills. Launched in India first, the app is designed to work offline and comes with a built-in reading buddy, “Diya”, who encourages, aids, explains, and corrects the child, as they read aloud.

In an official statement, Google has confirmed that it would not collect any data on children through the app and it would not have any advertisement. “Nothing is ever sent to Google through the app – not even the voice samples,” Nitin Kashyap, Product Manager, Google India, told IANS. He also added to his statement that the app is meant for just 10-15 minutes of daily use.

He added that because the app works offline, there is less chance that children would get distracted and they would start doing something else online. “But should children get access to the phone or not is one area where we would not like to take a position on. That is a personal decision that every parent should make for their child,” Mr Kashyap said. Google also mentioned that the company has been piloting Bolo with over 900 children in 200 villages in Uttar Pradesh with the help of ASER Centre.

All the reading material on the app is completely free and the initial catalogue from Storyweaver.org.in includes 50 stories in Hindi and 40 in English, Google said, adding that it plans to add more stories soon. According to Google, the Bolo app is still in beta and the company will be working with its partners like Kaivalya, Room to Read, Saajha, and Pratham to further refine it and take the app to more children. Bolo app can be downloaded from Google Play and works with all Android phones running KitKat or above.

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