ReadAskChat Will Help You…
Promote higher-level thinking and social-emotional learning
The ReadAskChat app coaches adult readers in how to talk about meaningful stories with children 6 months to 6 years. Children become confident in their ability to question, answer, and imagine. They learn to enjoy back-and-forth exchanges about what storybook characters think, do, and feel. Both adults and children find this experience intensely rewarding.
Build foundational science knowledge and habits of mind
As a National Science Foundation-funded program, ReadAskChat includes science features that spark curiosity and wonder and spur scientific thinking, such as observation, comparison, and theorizing. Stories are selectively enhanced with sounds and video clips from nature to bring new concepts to life.
Offer multiple entry points for learning
Text-specific conversation starters on each page of the library provide multiple entry points for exploration of stories. They inspire children to come up with their own questions and opinions and make new ideas their own.
Foster home-school connection
ReadAskChat is designed to prompt family conversation and shared storytelling, which not only reinforces and expands formal early learning, but also builds children’s confidence and sense of self. Our humorous Andie and Ruffy series, in particular, focuses on universal childhood experiences that enable children to “see themselves” in stories. Through conversation starters in the app and our guidance for teachers, we offer tangible ways for schools and families to become integral partners in their children’s education. Andie, cheered on by Ruffy, a stuff-animal companion, conquers a range of universal early childhood milestones—and young prereaders can celebrate right along with them and share their achievements with others.
RESEARCH SUPPORTING THE
80% of human brain development occurs during the first three years of life — before formal schooling begins.1
Parents have the greatest influence on their children’s long-term academic achievement during the first five years.2
Talking about stories grows children’s language, social- emotional core, and readiness for school success.3
When teachers encourage families to read and talk about books at home, children make substantial gains in early language and literacy skills.4
Reading aloud to children has benefits for behavior, attention, and language development.5
Back-and-forth conversation between adult and child accounts for significant growth in children's brain development and increases in language skills (e.g., vocabulary, grammar, and verbal reasoning), regardless of parental income or education.6
Social interactions between adults and young children enable children to develop language and thinking at higher levels than they could independently.7
Intensive early exposure to science concepts and knowledge before kindergarten can close science achievement gaps.8
High-quality 0–5 programs for educationally at-risk children can deliver a 13 percent per year return on investment.9
J. P. Shonkoff & D. A.. Phillips (Eds.). From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development. National Academy of Sciences, 2000.
Fielding, Lynn D.; Jay Maidment; & Christian N. K. Anderson. “Readiness for Entering Kindergarten: The Impact on Future Academic Achievement.” Working paper (2019).
American Academy of Pediatrics. “Policy Statement: Literacy Promotion: An Essential Component of Primary Care Pediatric Practice.” 2014. American Academy of Pediatrics, Council on Communications and the Media. “Policy Statement: Media and Young Minds.” Pediatrics, October 2016.
YaeBin Kim & Dave Riley. “Accelerating Early Language and Literacy Skills Through a Preschool‐Home Partnership Using Dialogic Reading: A Randomized Trial.” Springer Child & Youth Care Forum https://doi.org/10.1007/s10566-021-09598-1. January 2021.
Alan L. Mendelsohn, Carolyn Brockmeyer Cates, Adriana Weisleder, Samantha Berkule Johnson, Anne M. Seery, Caitlin F. Canfield, Harris S. “Huberman and Benard P. Dreyer. Reading Aloud, Play, and Social-Emotional Development.” Pediatrics May 2018, 141 (5)
Romeo, Rachel R.; Julia A. Leonard; Sydney T. Robinson; Martin R. West; Allyson P. Mackey; Meredith L. Rowe; & John D. E. Gabrieli.“Beyond the 30-Million-Word Gap: Children’s Conversational Exposure Is Associated With Language-Related Brain Function.” Psychological Science. Vol. 29.5, pp. 700-710. Article first published online: February 14, 2018. Issue published: May 1, 2018.
Vygotsky, L. S. Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes. Harvard University Press, 1978. (Original work published in 1934.)
Morgan, Paul L.; Farkas George; Hillemeier, Marianne M.; & Maczuga, Steve. “Science Achievement Gaps Begin Very Early, Persist, and Are Largely Explained by Modifiable Factors.” Educational Researcher. January/February 2016 vol. 45 no. 118-35.
García, Jorge Luis, James J. Heckman, Duncan Ermini Leaf, and María José Prados. “The Life-cycle Benefits of an Influential Early Childhood Program.” NBER Working Paper No. 22993. Issued in December 2016