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By Karan/11-09-2020

Good news for children in the pandemic . Now they can access digital library of story books on JioPhones. Yes, Global education nonprofit, Worldreader has entered into a strategic partnership for its BookSmart App with India’s leading digital services company, Reliance Jio. The partnership brings free children’s books to more than 150 million users from under-resourced households across India, most of whom are first-time internet users. Together, Worldreader and Jio aim to provide children from these households with a headstart and the support they need to build vital literacy skills.

According to available information, 46.6% of children in Grade 3 are unable to read Grade 1 level text. Nearly 80% of Indian households have no reading materials at all (2019 Annual Status of Education Report on Early Years). With the new partnership. The partnership is likely to eliminate a key barrier to access to the quality reading mateiral because Jio has an enormous low-cost mobile phone network and Worldreader's Booksmart App has quality reading material for children. The quality reading material will certainly help build reading-skills acquisition.
“Jio believes in the combination of its world-class yet affordable 4G mobile network and relevant engaging digital content in ushering forward the Digital India Mission,” said a Jio spokesperson, based in Mumbai. “We are excited to partner with Worldreader to bring a rich collection of digital storybooks to hundreds of millions of homes across India, during COVID times and beyond into the new normal too.”

“Jio changed the world when they brought low-cost 4G data to millions across India,” said David Risher, CEO and Co-founder of Worldreader. “Now they’re doing it again by bringing life-changing reading material to children, supporting their education and life-skills development. We’re thrilled to announce this partnership during Literacy Week. Joining forces with Reliance Jio will improve the lives of millions of families.”

BookSmart App contains

The BookSmart library includes books about health (including Coronavirus hygiene), nature and science, language arts, social studies, as well as storybooks and folk tales. Working with publishers and education experts, Worldreader has curated book collections to ensure availability of a book a week for 12 months at each age level. The book-a-week system allows parents, caregivers, and teachers to develop reading routines with their children. Consistent reading supports language development, comprehension skills, and critical thinking.

“For millions of under-resourced families across India, Jio Phones are their first digital experience,” said Bhanu Potta, Woldreader’s Global Executive Member and India Board Director. “Teaming up with Jio to bring high-quality children’s reading material to these families is not only important but urgent too. With the Coronavirus-related school closures, it is crucial to get digital resources into every home to help parents mitigate their children’s learning loss.” To promote the habit of reading to young children at home and in schools, a series of mobile-based story reading sessions will be organized via Jio Meet. This initiative will further provide a constant touch and motivate young readers, parents, teachers and caregivers to read regularly using the encouragement provided through Jio Chat.

 About Worldreader

Since 2010, Worldreader and its partners have distributed over 50 million digital books to 15 million children and young adults across five regions (East Africa, West Africa, Latin America, MENA, and South Asia). Worldreader had started `read to kids' programme in South Delhi's municipal schools on experiment basis couple of years ago. .