Read To Kids: Leveraging Mobile Technology for Parental Engagement in the Early Years
Between 2015-2017, Worldreader, Results for Development (R4D) and Pearson’s Project Literacy partnered to develop and implement a digital reading pilot called Read to Kids for parents of young children among under-resourced households in Delhi State. Read to Kids promoted emergent literacy and school readiness of young children 0-8 years of age by encouraging parents and caregivers to read aloud to their children. The pilot goals were to raise awareness of the value of reading to young children, encourage a culture of reading at the household level, and get parents reading frequently to their children.
The Read to Kids pilot was an opportunity to learn how to leverage mobile phones to support parents and caregivers in reading to young children in vulnerable low-resource households. The questions and research were about identifying the support needed to normalize digital reading to children. How could digital books delivered through mobile promote a more engaging home literacy environment and contribute to improved school readiness? Mobile phone ownership, mobile penetration and low data costs in India represent an opportunity to address the lack of quality reading materials in India at scale. This report summarizes Worldreader’s work and experience.
- The pilot reached over 203,000 households.
- Formative research at baseline concluded the majority of children in our target group lived in a home literacy environment absent of children’s storybooks.
- Digital reading is scalable and affordable.
- Women became important and indirect beneficiaries of the pilot.
- Books in Hindi (bilingual or Hindi only) were the most-read books on the application.
- Leveraging in person, digital and media assets together best foster attitude and behavior change in parents.