Last year, the company released an Android app called Bolo to help kids in India learn to read. It’s now expanding the app to many more countries and changing the name to Read Along. The app, which is in early access, taps into Google’s speech recognition and text-to-speech tech to understand how well kids are reading aloud.
A virtual reading buddy named Diya provides visual and verbal encouragement. If a kid is struggling to pronounce a word or sentence, they can tap on Diya for help. The app will also recommend difficulty levels for stories and games based on reading performance.
Children can earn stars and badges based on how well they’re doing, and parents can set up profiles for each of their kids, to track individual progress. After you download the app and stories, Read Along works offline (voice analysis takes place on the device). It doesn’t have ads or in-app purchases either.
The app’s available on the Play Store in nine languages (including English, Hindi, Spanish and Portuguese) in 180 countries. Google will add more books and features to Read Along in the future.