May 06, 2020
San Francisco – April 6, 2020 – Room to Read, a global organization focused on children’s literacy and girls’ education, has released a library of celebrity read-aloud videos alongside hundreds of free digitized children’s books, available for the first time publicly. The released materials will help children continue to develop the skill and habit of reading, despite COVID-19 related school closures. Celebrity readers include Callan Farris of The Disney Channel’s “Gabby Duran and the Unsittables,” Isla Farris of “Star Wars: The Mandalorian,” Elias Harger of “Fuller House,” Dilshad Vadsaria of “Second Chance,” and prominent business leaders, Samantha Barry, Glamour Editor-in-Chief, and Vicky Tsai, founder of Tatcha. Additional celebrity read-alouds will be released each week throughout the month of April.
Room to Read’s online learning platform, Literacy Cloud, https://literacycloud.org/, hosts easy-to-access online books, which have been especially developed by children’s authors and illustrators around the world for children in primary school. The books are available to download for offline use. Literacy Cloud also hosts professional development videos for educators and children’s book creators on topics ranging from building a habit of reading to what makes a great children’s book.
The public launch of Literacy Cloud, a platform supported by a US$2.2 million Google.org grant, coincides with UNESCO reporting over 1.5 billion of the world’s children are no longer attending school due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The platform currently offers storybook titles in English and Bahasa Indonesia and will be quickly expanding to multiple additional languages in the coming weeks and months including Hindi, Kiswahili, Vietnamese, Nepali, Sinhalese, Bengali, Khmer, Lao, Mandarin, Cantonese and Spanish.
Dr. Geetha Murali, CEO of Room to Read, said Literacy Cloud is launching publicly to help the large number of parents who are teaching their children at home:
“Education is a stabilizing force during times of crisis and as a publisher of more than 1600 titles and distributor of 26 million children’s books in 42 languages, Room to Read is uniquely positioned to bring the joy of reading to children in their homes as they find themselves displaced from their classrooms and libraries. Parents and educators in the U.S. and around the world engaged in distance learning can instantly access beautiful, engaging and fun children’s books along with paced read-aloud videos designed to inspire young readers and help them become global citizens. These globally diverse books created by local authors and illustrators from around the world will help children develop empathy and understanding for experiences and cultures beyond their own.”
About Room to Read
Founded in 2000 on the belief that World Change Starts with Educated Children®, Room to Read is creating a world free from illiteracy and gender inequality. We are achieving this goal by helping children in low-income communities develop literacy skills and a habit of reading, and by supporting girls to build skills to succeed in school and negotiate key life decisions. We collaborate with governments and other partner organizations to deliver positive outcomes for children at scale. Room to Read has benefitted more than 18 million children across 16 countries and 39,000 communities and aims to reach 40 million children by 2025. Learn more at www.roomtoread.org.
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