This Week in Digital Kids: Speakaboos Digital Literacy Platform Offers One-Stop-Shop for Interactive Children’s Storybooks

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Speakaboos story landLeaders in the children’s entertainment and publishing industries have joined forces to launch Speakaboos, an education-focused, multi-platform storybook subscription service.

Delivered directly to consumers in homes, schools and
libraries internationally, the service helps children age 2-6 read,
explore and discover the books they love in a world of interactive
storybooks.

The interactive literacy platform released in 2011 in beta website
form and will formally launch this month with its iPad application. It
plans to release an updated website and Android interactive pictures
books in coming months.

Speakaboos was developed in a two-on-two media fashion, Associate
Publisher Noelle Millholt said. First, it acquired a venture development
fund that helped it fill the gaps between traditional and digital
reading. Second, it partnered with large publishers and content owners
to help them digitize their books, bringing titles to a platform where
kids are increasingly spending their time.

Adults aiming to engage children in digital reading often have to
download individual paid apps to build a library. With a subscription
service like Speakaboos, it is less expensive to provide children with
an expansive digital library.

“The mission behind the app and Speakaboos overall is to provide
parents with a one-stop-shop for children’s books. Rather than paying
for each book download individually, parents pay $5/per month for the
entire library,” Millholt explained.
Speakaboos character

The company targets two different markets: the $10 billion
read-to-learn market, primarily found in North America, and the $40
billion learn-to-read market, primarily found worldwide.

To reach the learn-to-read market, Speakaboos is working to build
partnerships. Most recently, the company has entered a partnership with
Kyowon Publishing in Korea to bring produce content that will help
children in South Korea how to read.

What makes Speakaboos unique is that it is run by a team of seasoned experts.

Children’s education expert Dr. Alice Wilder is responsible for
defining the content vision, educational pedagogy and strategy for all
of Speakaboos’ future releases. She is also behind the development of
well-known television shows including Nick Jr.’s Blue’s Clues and PBS Kids’ SuperWHY!.

Amy Kraft manages the interactive content production for Speakaboos and has also built interactive content catalogs for Nook Kids, Scholastic and Hooked on Phonics.

The platform’s product team comes from Nickjr.com, where they helped build a streaming video site for children globally.

“We realized we needed experts to boost our presence in the space.
It’s what sets us apart and helps us really engage children using
strong, tested pedagogy and product development,” said Millholt. “The
content team works to ensure all titles are comprehensive, engaging and
developmental by testing them on groups of children.

Once a title tests successfully, the team curates it in the Speakaboos library.

As Speakaboos’ boasts unique expertise in digital storybook
production, educational positioning and multi-channel content delivery,
it has attracted attention from a wide range of publishers and content
providers.

Brands including The Jim Henson Company, DK, ABRAMS, and Charlesbridge are providing content for Speakaboos’ digital library with additional partnerships to be announced in the coming months.

The company is currently gearing up for its official launch and
working to continue growing its content licensing distribution to bring a level of interactivity unparalleled by traditional e-books.

 

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