Read Along wants to help improve child literacy by using Google’s speech recognition technology to give kids reading aloud verbal and visual feedback. Originally an Android app, Google’s Read Along is now on the web to better expand availability.
Read Along first launched for India in 2019 before expanding a year later. Aimed at those 5 and up, it supports nine languages (including English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Hindi) in over 180 countries. Google says more than 30 million kids have read 120 million stories over the past three years.
Google’s text-to-speech and speech recognition tech works to detect “if a student is struggling or successfully reading the passage.” Kids receive “correctional and encouraging ” feedback from Diya, a “reading assistant.” In terms of privacy, the Android app can work offline (after stories are downloaded), while all voice processing occurs on-device and is not sent to Google servers.
Google is now bringing Read Along to the web in public beta and gearing it towards laptops and PCs. Speech recognition occurs in the browser with support for Chrome, Firefox and Edge today, while Safari is “coming soon.” Sign-in is optional and allows for multiple accounts.
Google is positioning readalong.google.com as a “new opportunit[y] for teachers and education leaders around the world, who can use Read Along as a reading practice tool for students in schools.” The company recommends using Google Workspace for Education accounts in schools and personal Google Accounts with Family Link at home.
In terms of content, there are already hundreds of illustrated stories categorized into different reading levels:
In addition to the website launch, we are also adding some brand-new stories. We have partnered with two well-known YouTube content creators, ChuChu TV and USP Studios, to adapt some of their popular videos into a storybook format. Our partnership with Kutuki continues as we adapt their excellent collection of English and Hindi alphabet books and phonics books for early readers; those titles which will be available later this year.
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