Booked for school

Updated: May 25, 2019, 07:52 IST | Dalreen Ramos

We get a four-year-old and his mum to try Google's new app with over 2,000 titles, designed to get kids to read at home and in the classroom

Booked for school
There are history books available on personalities like Abraham Lincoln and Cleopatra (above) that only give a brief history for kids at level one

You're part of a generation that does not read." We have been told this so often that we have sworn to not tell future generations the same thing. And that's perhaps what the folks at Google were thinking as well. We imagine they got tired of people around the globe looking up "how to get a child to read". So they did what they do best — build an app for it.

Zian Modi

But this isn't any other app that comprises only e-books. With a step-by-step approach to reading, Rivet is an app that provides books according to a child's level of comprehension and helps them advance to the next level by guiding them if they mispronounce words. Educators can use the app free in the classroom. Rivet's website also provides resources such as a deployment guide as well as a take-home flyer for students.

Dhvani and Zian Modi try out the app on a tablet and phone
Dhvani and Zian Modi try out the app on a tablet and phone

We get Santacruz residents and avid readers Dhvani Modi and her four-year-old son Zian to download Rivet. "Zian loves reading so much that we have to fight and settle for books to be read daily," Modi tells us. The sign-up process is simple — you can choose to log in with your Google account or skip signing in. Next, you choose a level based on your kid's cognitive capability, and Modi opts for level one. "I read bigger books to him, like ones by Julia Donaldson, Oliver Jeffers and Tony Ross, but Zian is just starting to read on his own. So, he can read a basic sentence such as, 'This is a dog'," she explains.

Rivet is child-friendly. Each press of the button makes a sound, and you get a cheer every time you finish reading a book. Pics/Ashish Raje
Rivet is child-friendly. Each press of the button makes a sound, and you get a cheer every time you finish reading a book. Pics/Ashish Raje

Out of a wide range of titles segregated into genres such as sports (with sub-genres like gymnastics and cricket), history and animals, Modi picks Sammy Gets a Bath, and Spaceship. While the first is a book about giving a dog a bath, the second is a short story about a boy in a spaceship. All are picture books and a parent can either narrate or tap on the microphone button that reads the sentence out loud. That's the best part, according to Modi.

The app has books sorted according to reading levels. When one signs up and taps on level one, for instance, it provides an example (in the blue box) of what a child at that level would be able to read. The complexity of the sentence increases with every level
The app has books sorted according to reading levels. When one signs up and taps on level one, for instance, it provides an example (in the blue box) of what a child at that level would be able to read. The complexity of the sentence increases with every level

"For example, when there's a word that starts with the letter 'B' and if Zian spots a ball in the picture, he will say 'ball', when the word could be 'balloon'. So, the microphone helps in this case as it does with a sentence that reads, 'X likes to bounce'. Zian looks at the picture and says 'jump', even though there is no 'j' in the sentence. The narrator then reads the right word," she tells us.

There aren't any disadvantages to the app on first impression for Modi. It doesn't even drain her battery much. "The interface is child-friendly and each button you tap makes a sound. I would recommend it to other parents," she says, while Zian — who can best sum up his feelings by saying that he liked "the pictures and hearing stories" — is all set to go tell his friends about Rivet.

Log on to rivet.area120.com

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