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ECYS research used to develop innovative new reading app for children

Screen shot of Pibbon app on iPad tablet.

Research by the WELS School of Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport (ECYS) has been used to create an innovative new reading app.

Aimed at children aged 2-6, Pibbon is a personalised library of books where children can create an avatar that looks like them to appear in every story.

Tagged as “the inclusive reading revolution”, the app has been built for all those underrepresented in children’s books, with the hope that such personalisation will boost reading skills and encourage a love of reading that lasts a lifetime. 

Natalia Kucirkova, Professor of Reading and Children’s Development at The Open University, has spent several years researching children’s personalised experiences, and it was this work that the Pibbon team put to practical use.

“It was very rewarding to see how some of the principles that we theorised in research articles became part of Pibbon's design.

“Pibbon's solution centres on representation, ensuring children find their identities represented in the digital stories they use. Achieving such representation across cultural groups and disabilities is technologically not easy, so it took a lot of tweaking to get the desired result.

“I hope that the Pibbon reading experience will motivate many young children to read for pleasure.”

Deepak Bhalla, the founder of Pibbon, said:

“Working with Natalia on Pibbon's library has been extremely valuable. It's given Pibbon the advantage of concretely understanding where and how it could best impact children's reading.

“Pibbon has had tremendous feedback from parents and schools so far. We're thankful to both Natalia and The Open University for their input.”

The Pibbon app is available to download now.

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