“I'm confident that when my kids open the Let's Read app, they are going to have a rewarding experience.”
Let's Read was founded by two hard working parents, Chris and Ava Barnes, who were committed to providing a healthy lifestyle and nurturing environment for their kids.
The journey began when Ava, a researcher and lecturer at Georgia State University, started looking for ways to optimize her young daughter's growth. She found that two ways to nurture her daughter's brain development was to routinely read aloud to her or sing songs to her.
Soon Ava gave birth to their second child and life inevitably became even more complicated and more demanding. She quickly realized that she wasn't able to read to her young daughter and infant son as much as she wanted to or needed to, especially if she was going to try to enhance their healthy brain development.
So she picked out a few of her daughter’s favorite books, pulled out her iPad, and began video-recording herself reading stories to them.
“I thought, I can say 'hey' to her in the video and then read one of her favorite stories. This way she is not only listening to a book being read, but also seeing me read it to her.”
Ava recorded about ten books for her daughter, and when Chris saw the way their kids responded to Ava’s recordings - something sparked.
“I can make an app for that.”
Fortunately, Chris is an app developer. The two of them began working together to create an app that would simulate the experience and feel of being read to by a loved one.
“We wanted to create a way for kids to actively engage with stories that had been personalized just for them by the people who loved them the most.”
When they shared the first app with their extended family, everyone wanted to try it. Then they shared the next iteration with friends, who wanted to use the app with their kids. So Chris' development team focused on creating an Alpha version that was later downloaded on the Apple App Store over 182,000 times and was rated the #1 Kids and Education app in 75 countries.
With the data they collected from the Alpha test, they quickly realized that other extended families had the same need to bond and share personalized stories recorded for their kids. That's when the process of building Let's Read began in earnest.
The team knew that kids loved to play with mobile devices so they leveraged that fascination with technology to design ways to extend the experience of storytime with a loved one while providing parents (and grandparents) with a fun way to stay connected with their kids.
“I’m confident that when my kids open the Let's Read app, they are going to have a rewarding experience.”
From the very beginning, Chris and Ava's goal was to create an app that was not only easy for parents and grandparents to use but would also provide a fun way for kids to actively engage with stories. Today thousands of families are using Let's Read to help their kids discover the joy of reading stories aloud.