How free edtech can help connect distant families

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A few years back my daughter and her husband announced that a great job would be taking them from the North Carolina of their birth to upstate New York. Now, if you know anything about the demographics of North Carolina over the past decade or more, you will identify this move as an anomaly. Most people are going the other direction.

Grandsons Landon and Derek, assisted by Jefferson the Giraffe, read Itsy Bitsy Spider.

Seven years later, and not only do they still live in NY, but now my two grandsons live there too! While I get to see them fairly often, it is never enough. And this is where Read Aloud from Curriculum Pathways comes in. When the app was first in development, the team asked me to record one of the stories, "Itsy Bitsy Spider" to be specific. Doing voice work is always fun, though it was a bit tricky to find the right tone when reading to children, which is completely different from speaking to adults.

Flash forward a couple of years. I hear from my daughter that grandson Derek is now using Read Aloud—and he recognized my voice when he read "Itsy Bitsy Spider." "That's Poppa!" he exclaimed. As a grandparent, you live for moments like that, particularly when the children live far away.

Distance is one of the reasons the latest version of Read Aloud is so exciting. Now users can record their own voices reading stories and share them with other users. This free app is perfect for parents who travel for work, parents separated by divorce or jobs, and of course for grandparents! As a veteran I also see the wonderful opportunities for troops who are deployed.

If there is a more important family moment than storytime before bed, I don't know what it is. Read Aloud can help children have a loved one with them at this precious time—if not physically, at least by voice.

You can learn more about Read Aloud in this previous blog post. The free app is available at no cost for your iPad in the app store.

Here's a full description:

Read to anyone from anywhere with Read Aloud. Record yourself reading aloud and share with family and friends to create storytime, anytime. Free from Curriculum Pathways, Read Aloud is more than a library of books; it is an impactful educational tool that teaches and guides early readers. Read Aloud provides access to numerous books with three unique reading modes: Read to Me, Help Me Read, and Read by Myself. Parents, teachers, and children can record themselves reading the book of their choice. Readers can see words highlighted as the familiar voice speaks each word.

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About Author

Ralph Moore

Ralph Moore coordinates and conducts professional development for Curriculum Pathways. He works with schools and organizations around the country and has presented at conferences for organizations such as the National Council for the Social Studies and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. A former army officer and social studies teacher, he spent 10 years on the Curriculum Pathways humanities team creating new digital curriculum products.

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