A whole new e-reading world thanks to app

19 March 2020 | Education

Come Saturday (21 March), a world of books will be available via app, thanks to a sponsorship valued at U$1 million by the Foundation for Accessible Children's Education (FACE.org), for the Smart Kidz Club in Namibia.
The Namibia Reads app is a carefully curated digital library that allows young children easy access to narrated and illustrated eBooks in an environment free of ads, animation, videos and games. It is meant to strengthen the efforts of the ministry of education, arts and culture objectives of developing a strong framework to enhance core skills of literacy and numeracy.
The Namibia Reads app consists of a 1000+ eBooks, activities and quizzes for children aged from 3 to 12 years old. These books were developed by educators and teachers to promote reading, building vocabulary and comprehension in children at a tender age.
All the content is educational, with 85% non-fiction that children are generally not exposed to.
Some subjects covered in the app include the alphabet, ecosystems, health and well-being, lifecycle, space and astronomy as well as phonics. Learners have an option to either read the books themselves or let the book read aloud to them which makes this app essential for parents who are ever busy and have no time to read to their children.
The app is inclusive in that it has books (both illustrated and audio) that cater for children with special needs, in particular those who are autistic.
The local population is increasingly using digital media, thus the Namibia Reads app perfectly blends in as a tool to instil the love of reading in children whilst using digital media. It has been discovered that reading digitally is a preferred way of reading for reluctant readers, readers with few books at home and children who traditionally don’t enjoy reading on paper.
These books will contribute to children’s vocabulary growth, comprehension, engagement and enjoyment of the story.
The app comes at the right time where learners are mostly confined in their homes and are not able to visit their school or public libraries.
The Namibia Reads app will be accessible as from 21 March 2020 for free to anyone (parents, teachers, schools, libraries). It can be downloaded on Google Playstore for Android devices or Apple App Store for Apple/iOS devices. The use of internet is not needed after syncing books on devices hence books can be accessed while offline.
Parents, teachers, information institutions such as school and community libraries as well as the general public are encouraged to make use of this free resource. Together we can make a positive change and improve the literacy levels in Namibia. Let’s inspire our kids to read and learn. For more information regarding the downloading and use of the app visit your nearest community library or go to www.facebook.com/namibiareads.
FACE.org is a New York-based non-profit organisation with a mission to enable children in underprivileged areas around the world to receive access to quality education through digital solutions.