BBC launches CBeebies Storytime app to encourage pre-schoolers to read

Aug 1, 2014 by

iOS and Android release follows success of CBeebies Playtime, which has been downloaded nearly 3m times

The BBC has launched a second app for its CBeebies children’s TV channel, following 3m downloads of the CBeebies Playtime app it released in 2013.

The new app, CBeebies Storytime, is a collection of stories based on shows including Old Jack’s Boat, Show Me Show Me, Something Special, Grandpa in my Pocket, Octonauts and Charlie and Lola.

Whereas the Playtime app was a collection of mini-games, the emphasis in Storytime is on reading, with each story delivered using a mixture of text, voice narration and interactivity, as well as comprehension questions at the end.

The free app is available for Android, iPhone and iPad devices, although judging by the BBC’s strategy with the previous app, a Windows Phone version may follow in the future.

“We’re hoping to create a general interest in reading and storybooks,” Lizzie Leadbeater, senior content producer from CBeebies Interactive, told The Guardian.

“We want children to engage in reading all sorts of books and stories, so we’re using the devices’ features to make reading really engaging and fun, and hopefully compete with games as something they want to be spending time with.”

CBeebies presenters Alex Winters, Andy Day and Katy Ashworth provide voice narration for the new app, while Leadbeater added that external producers have been supportive of the launch, even when they have their own apps already available.

The app may run into familiar scrutiny for the BBC about its impact on the wider market: for example, whether a free CBeebies app will draw parents away from spending money on other digital storytelling apps from British companies like Nosy Crow and Me Books.

Alternatively, with its limited selection of stories – six at launch, although more are likely to follow – CBeebies Storytime might encourage parents to explore some of those other apps, if their children have enjoyed it.

“We’ve worked with an educational consultant on providing some really nice, fun, light tips for parents within the app to help engage children in reading,” said Leadbeater.

“That includes being a good reading role-model, having fun with stories, and making time to talk to children about the stories you read together.”

via BBC launches CBeebies Storytime app to encourage pre-schoolers to read | Technology |

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