Our guest post this week is written by Ann Potter of JANES Works Company, who is focused on creating products to instill a love of reading. This post resonates well with the spirit of Moms With Apps. As parents, developers, technologists and educators explore educational materials for kids, I hope we can all agree that LOVING reading is a timeless and fundamental element for learning.
Reading was one thing I knew would have a profound effect on our children’s development and their futures. Our first child was at the ripe age of 12 hours when his dad read him his first book, “The Going-To-Bed Book” by Sandra Boynton. So began the tradition of reading in our family. Once a child learns to read, and even more importantly, learns to love to read, the possibilities of how it will affect your child will be endless. Reading has opened the minds of our children to new worlds and ideas in ways little else ever could.
When our children became old enough to read by themselves, we set the rule that every night they would read by themselves for 20 minutes and then we would read as a family for another 20 minutes. Over the years, the boys have been read countless classics such as “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien, “James and the Giant Peach” by Roald Dahl, “The Princess Bride” by William Goldman (a classic in our house at least), currently “The Lord of the Rings” by Tolkien, and countless other tales and even poems such as Tam O’ Shanter by Robert Burns.
So why share this? Because this is one of the reasons we started JANES Works Company. We wanted to create apps that would give kids a solid foundation to start reading. We also want to do our part in helping to reduce illiteracy. Were you aware that over forty-two million American adults are unable to read? It is an astounding fact. Moreover, fifty million American adults are limited to a 4th or 5th grade reading level and the number of illiterate adults increases by 2.25 million every year.
JANES Works Company is on a mission. JANES Works wants to help kids learn how to read. More importantly, JANES wants to help kids learn to *LOVE* to read. As a first step, JANES Works developed JANES ABCs 123s, a set of phonetically-based interactive flash cards, developed to teach children their ABCs and letter sounds to prepare children to learn how to read.
Educators nationwide have come to realize the most effective way to teach children how to read is to start phonetically. Each of the alphabet words in JANES ABCs 123s is interactive. Touch a letter in a word and it pronounces that letter’s sound. Touch the picture, and it will pronounce the whole word with a fun interaction. The app also includes Numbers, Colors, and Shapes, and is available on iOS, Android, Kindle Fire, and Nook devices.
As the next step after JANES ABCs 123s, we are currently working on the Jim & Ann Books. The Jim & Ann Books will be a series of phonetically-leveled, beginning-reader books similar to the popular Bob Books, except they will follow the adventures of Jim & Ann and their friends. Each Jim & Ann book introduces a set of new sounds and builds upon those sounds already introduced in preceding books. Sight words and more complex pronunciation and grammar are introduced gradually, after the basics are established. They will be available in both print and eBook versions as well as interactive book apps. Look for the Jim & Ann Book to be released in the beginning of 2012.
Lastly, to do our part in fighting illiteracy, JANES Works Company has started a non-profit organization, JANES Works CARES, dedicated to reducing illiteracy by donating books, iPads, and time to help children learn to love reading. Our hope is to be able to offer our services to parents who may be struggling with literacy. If you would like to learn more about our organization, check our website and Facebook Page for updates.