The Alexa Fund Invests in Reading Tracker Beanstack

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.”

beanstack-reading-tracker
Beanstack Reading Tracker

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.

Related: Safety Games and Activities for Children 

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.

Aliza Vigderman

Aliza Vigderman

Aliza is a journalist living in Brooklyn, New York. Throughout her career, her work has spanned many intersections within the tech industry. At SquareFoot, a New York-based real estate technology company, she wrote about the ways in which technology has changed the real estate industry, as well as the challenges that business owners face when they want to invest in property. At Degreed.com, an education technology website, Aliza created digital content for lifelong learners, exploring the ways in which technology has democratized education. Additionally, she has written articles for The Huffington Post as well as her own content on Medium, the online publishing platform. Aliza’s love of journalism and research stems from the excellent Journalism program at Brandeis University. At Brandeis, Aliza interned as a research assistant at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism, a non-profit “news room without walls”. There, Aliza was paired with an investigative journalist and used academic databases to obtain data on everything from the suicide rates in Bhutan to local Boston court cases. Her last position was as an account executive at Yelp, educating business owners on the power of technology to increase revenue. Throughout, however, her heart remained with tech journalism, and she’s thrilled to be writing for Security Baron. When she’s not keeping afloat of the latest tech trends, Aliza likes to cook, read, and write. A former high school “Class Clown,” Aliza has completed two feature-length screenplays, a pilot, and countless comedic sketches. On her days off you can find her relaxing in Prospect Park, trying the latest flavors at Ample Hills Ice Cream, and spending time with friends and family.

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