Highlights and Bamboo Learning Release Alexa Skill

Highlights, the children’s media brand, and Bamboo Learning, a software company focused on educational apps, have released a storytelling Alexa skill. The skill, entitled Highlights Storybooks from Bamboo, reads 12 titles to kids and asks them questions about the stories after. Alexa can also evaluate the answer and provide feedback, while parents can view their children’s results on the Bamboo website.

Kent Johnson, CEO of Highlights for Children, said in a press release from Bamboo,

Highlights Storybooks incorporate what families love most about Highlights – detailed, engaging content that helps kids learn and grow – and incorporates the element of voice-based interactivity which adds to both the delight and the educational benefits. We are excited to see where children’s passion for these new voice-based products will take them.”

To start using the Highlights Storybooks skill, users can say “Alexa, enable Highlights Storybooks,” access it through the Alexa app or on the Bamboo website. The titles are from three different reading levels and include:

  • Enjoy the Show
  • Lulu Builds a Choo-Choo
  • Robin’s Best Nest
  • Time for a Party
  • The Skeleton Crew

among others. As studies show that reading makes kids “happier, healthier, and more empathetic,” according to the press release, this skill aims to help children become better readers and expand their vocabularies and language acquisition skills.

Highlights Storybooks from Bamboo. Photo provided by Bamboo.

More Storytelling with Alexa and Google Assistant

Highlights and Bamboo are not the first companies to unleash children’s storytelling skills on popular voice assistants. Recently, Google partnered with Disney to make the Assistant read along with select Golden Books. While the parent reads the books to the children as usual, the Assistant adds sound effects and play ambient music during pauses.

In the same vein, Chooseco, a publisher of Choose Your Own Adventure books, partnered with Amazon Alexa and Audible to make their books interactive through an Alexa skill. Users can read Journey Under the Sea and The Abominable Snowman by R.A Montgomery using Amazon Alexa as of February 4th, 2019. As voice assistants are easier to use than the majority of connected devices, there is a plethora of opportunities for kids to use them with the rest of the family.

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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