Saturday, November 30, 2019

Amazing Apps: Adventure Readers

I wanted to highlight a new iOS app, Adventure Readers.

It was developed by a grandmother who, during 25 years as “The Reading Coach,” has devised a revolutionary system that quickly teaches new readers, and remediates those who are years behind.

Adventure Readers fully integrates her method into an interactive comic book adventure featuring 70 pages of hand-drawn art, a full cast of voice-over artists, and an original score recorded by live symphony musicians.

Why was this app created?
Learning to read can be fun and easy when young readers are taught the right tools. The trajectory of a child’s life is dependent on the ability to read. Yet many children do not enjoy what could be one of the single greatest sources of fun, excitement and self-esteem in their young lives.

Unfortunately due to entrenched methods of proven ineffectiveness, many children struggle with this essential life skill. Existing apps already for the most part reproduce the shortcomings inherent in existing reading methods.

Additionally, children with learning disabilities or who are learning English as a second language often struggle even more with the traditional approaches to early childhood literacy.

Our story:

Our app addresses these issues in two ways: through an innovative approach to building reading skills, and by transforming the learning experience from challenge to adventure.

Adventure Readers! was founded by Leslie Poznanter, a mother and grandmother who has worked as a reading tutor for nearly 20 years. Leslie’s innovative teaching style has had incredible success helping children, including kids with learning disabilities and ESL students. It became a regular occurrence for parents to come to her with children who had been told they would have to repeat a grade––only to succeed in bringing that child up to grade level reading, and often beyond, in just a few sessions.

As word spread, Leslie was eventually unable to keep up with the demand for one-on-one coaching sessions.

Her son David, a touring circus artist and educator, who she had also trained to teach her method, realized that there must be a way to bring her system to more children worldwide. At the time, he was living in India working as circus coach to Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan. His childhood friend, entrepreneur and technology expert, Jonathan Dotan (currently the Tech Advisor and Producer of HBO’s hit series Silicon Valley), was living in India as well, serving as executive producer for legendary Indian comic book company ACK’s first full-length animated feature film.

The idea for Adventure Readers was born in the intersection of their experience and interest, as Jonathan proposed they create an app recreating Leslie’s one-on-one coaching method. They committed to not only create an app that taught Leslie’s revolutionary methods, but that would take a child all the way from pre-literacy to the ability to read full sentences and short stories with no need for help from an adult.

In addition, the innovative twist that would set this app apart was partnering with the extraordinary cartoonists and animators from ACK to provide a full 70-page interactive motion comic adventure story to transform children’s reading experience into an unforgettable adventure.

In order to realize this ambitious goal, David and Jonathan then reached out to their long-time friend and collaborator David Bernbaum (Writer and Producer of Batman: The Animated Series VR, who at the time was completing an advanced degree in Creative Writing and Media and Communications) to join the team as Writer and Artistic Director.

What sets it apart from other reading apps?
Adventure Readers stands apart from other apps on the market in two respects: Our method, and our revolutionary approach to child engagement.

Our Method:
Words are made up of sounds, not letter names. Mixing the two before a child has learned to read is often confusing for children and detrimental to their learning process. Our system uses only the sound that represents the letter, allowing your child to quickly learn to decode the English language and to read with ease. This single factor can mean the difference between your child having a positive, rewarding reading experience or one that is riddled with confusion and frustration. It is also one of the main focuses of our approach that sets our app apart from the hundreds of reading apps available today.

Additionally, most literacy apps on the market do not present a progression of letters and words that are developmentally appropriate. Our app’s curriculum was carefully crafted by Leslie and Deidra to guide children through a progression allowing the child to rapidly succeed and master basic reading skills, and then to build incrementally on that success as additional letters and concepts are presented.

In addition, the creative team and programmers worked to create flexible gameplay that accommodates the learning needs of younger children while simultaneously allowing for full engagement by older children at a more advanced reading levels.

A revolutionary approach to child engagement:
One of the primary innovations of Adventure Readers is to present its learning pedagogy within the context of a 70-page adventure story––the thrilling tale of two young siblings who must join their companion, a rambunctious monkey in a space suit, on a quest across the galaxy in a rocket ship to save the universe by learning how to read.

Children are rewarded for completing each learning activity with the next page of the story. The adventure is presented as a “motion comic,” meaning that individual panels come to life, and the characters move and speak thanks to the work of an extraordinary cast of voice-over performers, set against the backdrop of a fully orchestrated musical score recorded by live symphony musicians.

The Adventure Readers! story is a journey across seven fantastic planets. In addition to its emphasis on building reading skills, the Adventure Readers story encourages children with valuable life skills such as working together to overcome obstacles, greeting new challenges with curiosity and good humor, and making new friends.

How can apps help kids improve their reading skills?
Technology is changing how children learn. We want to use this technology to make the experience of learning how to read as fun, magical and exciting as possible. We wanted to help launch kids on a life long relationship to reading.

The prevalence of technology in children’s lives is in many cases having a dramatic impact on cherished traditional activities such as reading. It’s our hope to use cutting edge advances in the technology available to modern families to encourage children to come to love books, reading and learning as much as we did in our own childhoods.

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