With new investments from the Alexa Fund, Mark Cuban, EAI Technologies, and others, Zoobean plans to integrate Amazon Alexa into its reading tracker app Beanstack. Beanstack gives kids reading challenges and trackers so they can monitor their progress. The company describes it as a “Fitbit for reading”, according to a recent press release. Beanstack is also used in over 1,000 schools, corporations, and libraries to help librarians give personalized book recommendations and coordinate reading challenges.
In an interview, founder Felix Lloyd told Security Baron that Beanstack will utilize Alexa in a few different ways, including:
- helping kids set timers or track reading
- congratulating kids on their reading accomplishments
- reminding them to read
- alerting kids when they reach different milestones, like 100 or 1000 minutes reading.
Of Zoobean in general, Lloyd said,
“In today’s age of screens, people read less, and we want to be a leader in the mental benefits of reading. The integration with Amazon Alexa will help us to realize that goal.”
Alexa, Open Choose Your Own Adventure
Zoobean is not Amazon’s first investment into children’s reading. Earlier this year, Amazon partnered with Chooseco, a publisher of Choose Your Own Adventure books, to integrate them into the Audible platform using Alexa technology. Users can interact with their stories, such as Journey Under the Sea and The Abominable Snowman by R.A Montgomery, on all Alexa-enabled devices.
Use Your Google Home to Read Along with Disney
Similarly, Google Home partnered with Disney to create read-along books including sound effects and music for a select number of Golden Books. Google Home will be able to follow if the reader skips a part or takes a break, playing ambient music in the interim. Current titles available include Moana, Coco, Peter Pan, and Alice in Wonderland. By combining reading challenges and trackers with read-along technology, companies hope to increase the number of books being read by children.