Sneak Peak: Learn to Read Adventures Nearing Kickstarter Launch
Learn to Read Adventures, the app concept and book series that our son, who was six-years-old at the time, came up with to help his peers learn to read is now in beta testing on TestFlight and is nearing its launch on Kickstarter.
For those asking how this project came to be, here’s a sneak peak at the draft of the video that will be on the Kickstarter page (so not everything in the video applies here, but it will give you an idea of what it’s all about). Also, be sure to join the launch team by entering your contact info in the box to the right.
If you’d prefer the written version of what was said in the video, here it is:
Whenever someone is struggling with something, I want to do whatever I can to help, especially when it’s my own child who’s struggling.
Plus, it’s amazing to see what can come out of a challenge. In this case, the challenge turned into our 6 year old coming up with an app concept and book series that helps his peers learn to read while giving back to the world. Here’s how it happened & what you can do to help make his vision a reality:
Growing up, our son James always seemed quite capable for his age. Now, I know every parent would say that, but the way he spoke, his conversations and math skills all seemed to be well above his age level, except for his reading, which was not good. We looked into see if there was some type of condition, but it came down to fact that he just did not like to read.
After a particularly rough night of attempting to read, he went to bed quite upset. The next day, I asked him, “What would it take for you to enjoy reading?” He came up with 4 things. Here’s what he said:
- I need to be in the story
- I need to be able to choose what happens
- I need to go to real places and it needs to have real pictures of the places (and not cartoons like the other books)
- It needs to be an adventure where I find something cool
Then he said, “Just like the stories you tell me, Daddy.”
I thought, “Okay, I can to do this. I’ve written books before – not a children’s book – but I can do this for him.”
So, I got to work and created a story just like he wanted – it was an adventure to the Amazon where he was in the story and was able to choose his own path through the story. He loved it and more importantly loved reading it, but it didn’t end there. James had another idea:
“I thought we should have more stories like it & have it in an app so we could share it with my friends who would love it too”
His 1st grade teacher validated this by saying she wanted the app and additional stories too.
Again, I thought, “Okay, I run a marketing agency and we’ve had great successes with our clients, so we can do this,”
I loved how involved James was in the process – coming up with the name Learn to Read Adventures, the logo design & picking the images for the stories, but it didn’t end there. James had another idea:
“I wanted to be able to give back to the people living in the places where the stories are & I wanted to be able to protect nature.”
Therefore, we added products made my local artisans to the stories. For example, handmade Brazilian hammocks in the Amazon adventure will be on our website to benefit artisans. Plus, a percent of the proceeds will be donated to conserve nature in the areas of the story.
All the stories still follow the set-up that James wanted – and from what we’ve found in our focus groups – other children want as well – where the readers are in the story, going to real places with real pictures and are able to choose what happens.
“The concept is great and I definitely think having the reader’s name in the story helps keep the reader’s attention. It’s fabulous that the book is set up as a ‘choose your own path’ type of thing. That definitely adds interest and excitement!”
– Victoria Floyd, Kindergarten Teacher, Reading Specialist and Mother of Two
For example, when they are in the Amazon and there has been a heavy rain, the readers can choose to take the flooded low road (that may have anacondas) or the high road (that is used by jaguars) to get to the cave of hidden treasure.
The stories will be available on the app and as printed books. We’ll also have rewards for the readers.
It’s amazing how this project has progressed. It started as something to help our son enjoy reading. Now, it can be so much more. James wants to be able to help others learn to read – plus, an organization who helps adults with developmental disabilities thinks it would be great since many of their patients read on the 1st – 4th grade level, so it’s wonderful to see how this could have an impact and truly help a large number of people.
…and that’s where you come in. There’s quite a lot that goes into projects like this & you can help make James’s vision a reality by supporting this project. You can choose the option that best suits your interest.
We truly appreciate your support and please share this with those you know who may be interested.
Finally, wherever you go in life, may you go forth to light, love and serve the world & live the life you’ve always imagined.