Today I’m excited to share news about a new app which has been designed to encourage children to read. As many of may already know, throughout February, with the #Febookary book challenge, and beyond, I’ve been encouraging everyone, especially reluctant readers, to try opening a book and hopefully learn to love reading. 🙂 Sometimes it takes a bit of encouragement to motivate ourselves and especially our children to take more time to read, especially these days with so many distractions around. So how can we get kids more interested in reading? Well, maybe this new app might help.
I was recently contacted and made aware of this clever new app called Readingmate which sounds just brilliant and is more rewarding than you first realise. I have been lucky enough to get the chance to interview the founder of Readingmate to find out more about the app and why you might want to download and use it with your kids 🙂
Interview with founder Hannah Rix
Hi Hannah! Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to create Readingmate?
Hello Cat. The inspiration from Readingmate actually came from quite a sad place. After teaching English for 7 years in secondary schools I was getting increasingly concerned with how few children genuinely enjoyed to read. And I noticed a pattern amongst my ‘reluctant readers’ too. I often found the route of their reluctance came from either a lack of confidence, not having found the right book, their parents weren’t readers themselves, they were from low-income or vulnerable families or a combination of all of these.
I’ve spent many hours teaching students about onomatopoeias and how to analyse Shakespeare but the joy of reading isn’t something you can teach. It’s something you feel. So, after meeting my husband (who’s also a bookworm) we wanted to find a way to give every parent the tools and child the opportunity to fall in love with reading. Queue the conception of Readingmate. We want to empower parents, inspire children and also give back to those who are most in need in our society.
How does the Readingmate app work?
Readingmate is a free app downloadable from the App Store or Google play. It’s designed as a tool for parents to use with their child. Currently we have over 1500 parents using and enjoying it. Parents will create a profile for their child(ren) and from there they can add the book their child is reading and tick off each day that they read. We’ve designed the app so that the child will receive a reward for each milestone they reach (e.g. 3 days in a row, books read etc). As parents have to juggle so many things (especially at the moment) we’ve built in a reminder that can be set so you’ll never miss a day.
The app also has a ’News’ section which has a feed of all of our latest research-based articles so parents can learn hints, tricks and tips on reading with their child (all written by myself). And finally there’s the shop which has thousands of books for you to choose from and recommendations based on what your child likes to read.
Every book purchased through our app or the website (www.readingmate.co.uk) donates 20p to a literacy charity of your choice and your child’s school to fund vital literacy programs.
How important do you feel reading is for children?
I’m going to pinch a quote from Joseph Addison here, ‘Reading to the brain is what exercise is to the body.’ I genuinely believe that reading is an essential skill. But I feel that the enjoyment of reading is what drives a passion for learning and the curiosity for life. Unfortunately, there’s a huge amount of evidence to show that poor literacy can lead to unemployment, imprisonment and even mental health problems or illness. 1 in 6 adults in the UK has low literacy and 1 in 11 families don’t even own a book. Not only this, reading can enhance academic performance, social engagement and personal development and reading for as little as 6 minutes a day can reduce your stress levels by 60%! It’s statistics like this that lead us to donate to the nations schools and The Book Trust, Coram Beanstalk, Real Action, The Children’s Literacy Charity and National Literacy Trust. Charities and schools are really struggling for funding right now and that means the poorest children are suffering. So, donating to them allows them to continue with the invaluable work they’re already doing. We believe that if you equip every child with good literacy skills it will open up so many doors for them to achieve whatever they wish.
Do you think Readingmate will help reluctant readers?
Readingmate is designed to be incentive driven. We all know that whenever you ask your child to do something, more often than not, they’ll be thinking ‘what’s in it for me?’ That’s why we’ve built in the rewards, badges and stickers as well as the colourful days of the week that you can tick off for every day you read. The non-readers among my students often just needed a little more encouragement, time, and a good recommendation to get them on the right track. With our Learning Hub, Bookstore and App, we think any parent of a ‘reluctant reader’ will be equipped to change that. In the coming months we’re releasing a couple of free e-books for parents to get their children on track with reading. As well as running competitions on our social media to engage children in all aspects of reading. We want children to see reading as a fun and wonderful thing. But also a versatile skill that can be taken with you anywhere. The Learning Hub has videos and articles with tips for parents of ‘reluctant readers’ as I know in this technology-driven age, this is a common hurdle.
Can you tell us more about how using Readingmate can be rewarding for charities too?
As I previously mentioned, charities are in desperate need of funding at the moment. That’s why we donate 10p from every book bought to a charity of your choosing. Each of these charities have been lifelines for schools and children across the country. So, we will continue to support them in every way possible.
Thank you so much for speaking with us today Hannah. 🙂
“We want to put the love and enthusiasm back into reading. We believe reading is the pathway to a full and happy life but some children are lacking in confidence and passion towards it. Readingmate aims to shift this perception and make reading the better and more exciting option for all children” – Readingmate founder Hannah
Download the app
I haven’t tried using Readingmate myself yet but it’s certainly sounds like a great app to get kids interested in reading and to keep them focused on it by rewarding them with how much time they spend on it. I also love the idea of money going to both a reading charity and local schools. If you do try Readingmate for your own children, let me know how you got on. 🙂
What do you think of this app? Have you tried using Readingmate with your children? Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂