A growing body of brain and social-science research confirms the critical importance of nurturing the cognitive development of very young children, beginning in infancy.

Consensus is also growing about the role that fostering social-emotional development plays in children’s long-term academic achievement and determining their life trajectories.

To support healthy brain development, young children need exposure to rich language, positive social interactions, and early literacy activities.


Children need a critical mass of high-quality picture books in the home to encourage daily reading. Our digital library features a wide range of short, idea-rich stories, verse, and science and math features that reward repeated readings. We do not include distracting voiceovers, sound effects, or animations because these would detract from the essential activities of reading together and sharing ideas. We invite children to be active participants in reading for meaning.

Unlike most education apps —which tend to be digital versions of worksheets, puzzles, or games— ReadAskChat meets the four criteria that experts say characterize effective education apps: active thinkingdeep engagementmeaningful content, and social interaction.

ReadAskChat is adult-mediated because young children only learn language and social-emotional behaviors from their caregivers—not from digital sources. When families ReadAskChat together, their exchanges are inherently meaningful, and lay a strong foundation for open communication about what matters most throughout childhood and youth.


Because ReadAskChat is something that adults and children do together, it is fully compliant with American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendations for digital media. See Media and Young Minds.”

ReadAskChat is digital for the sole purpose of putting a critical mass of age-appropriate stories and high-quality artwork into the hands of families, wherever they are.

Smartphones and tablets are an effective delivery system so all families can easily access a rich library of beautifully illustrated stories, verse, songs, and nonfiction. In contrast to solo “screen time,” which AAP cautions is inappropriate for very young children, engagement with ReadAskChat encourages lively, extended, and joyful adult-child interaction.


Educators agree that parents are their child’s first teacher. And one of the most pleasurable and effective ways to launch a child into the world of learning is through daily reading and conversation around stories that broaden horizons and spark the imagination and curiosity.

ReadAskChat is designed to enable all adults to guide early learning because it is based on understanding of how young children learn naturally. ReadAskChat aligns with widely accepted school- and reading-readiness indicators in the cognitive and social-emotional realms, including:

Curiosity and initiative in learning

Identity of self in relation to others
Social and emotional understanding
Relationships and social interactions with familiar adults

Reciprocal communication and conversation
Understanding of language
Responsiveness to language
Communication through expressive language
Interest in literacy
Concepts about print
Symbol-letter-print knowledge
Comprehension of age-appropriate text
Rhyming and phonological awareness
Letter and word knowledge

Number sense and quantity

Knowledge of the natural world
Cause and effect
Inquiry through observation

Day/night; seasons
Relational concepts (e.g., big, little)

Dancing / movement
Expression through drawing