9to5Google: Google is shutting down Area 120’s popular ‘Rivet’ kids reading app. “Google’s Area 120 incubator launched an app called Rivet in beta in 2018 as a ‘fun and supportive reading app for kids.’ It finally exited beta on Android and iOS in May of 2019, and in its time has grown to be one of the most beloved teach-your-kids-to-read apps on the Play Store. Now Google says that it’s shutting the app down.”
Phys .org: Teaching kids to read during the coronavirus pandemic: 5 questions answered. “Keisha Allen and Kindel Nash research how kids learn to read and prepare future teachers at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. They are also raising children of their own. Here, they answer five questions many families and teachers may have about what they are seeing with virtual learning for early childhood education.”
University of Iowa: First Annual Ray Bradbury Read-A-Thon. “On Saturday, August 22, 2020, the University of Iowa Libraries will partner with national organizations to present the first annual Ray Bradbury Read-A-Thon. During this four-hour online event, a diverse group of celebrities and Bradbury experts, including Peter Balestrieri, curator of science fiction and popular culture collections at the University of Iowa Libraries Special Collections & Archives, will present a virtual reading of Bradbury’s classic novel Fahrenheit 451 streamed over YouTube beginning at 3:30 pm CDT.” The event has already occurred but the stream is still available over YouTube. Also, it’s more like six hours.
Oprah Magazine: 117 Black-Owned Bookstores in America That Amplify the Best in Literature. “From online book boutique Sistah Scifi—a shop that strictly sells Afrofuturism novels—to children’s bookstore The Listening Tree in Decatur, Georgia, there are plenty of diverse Black-owned bookstores you can safely shop at right now, and always, no matter how much (or little) the nation is focused on a longtime continuing struggle.”
Niagara Gazette: Niagara Frontier Radio Reading Service goes online. “In 1987, Bob Sikorkski founded the Niagara Frontier Radio Reading Service. It’s designed to give people who are blind, have low vision or have other print disabilities, the ability to hear books as well as local publications. On July 31, they took, their service online for streaming and podcasting. Previously, listeners would have to get a special radio to be able to listen in.” I checked in on the stream. It is not location-restricted and is free to listen to.
ReviewGeek: 9 Book Reading Apps Worth Checking Out. “Few pleasures in life are greater than being immersed in a great book. Stay up to date with the latest books or catch up on the classics with these inexpensive and user-friendly book reading apps. What a novel idea!”
How-To Geek: 7 Tips to Make the Web More Readable on an iPhone. “You probably spend more time reading on your iPhone than you do texting, calling, or playing games. Most of that content is likely on the web, and it’s not always easy to see or scroll through. Fortunately, there are plenty of hidden features that can make reading on your iPhone a much more pleasant experience.”
Irish Examiner: New website helps people with dyslexia improve reading. “Computer science student Kevin Cogan created the platform so it can be adapted to suit an individual’s needs. The software can be downloaded as a Google Chrome extension so that dyslex.ie can be used across all sites and online scripts.” Not entirely free; there is a premium version that unlocks all features, but according to the article it starts at a modest €2 a month (about $2.25 USD.)
Baltimore Magazine: The Womanist Reader Creates an Online Library of Black Literature. “Named after Layli Phillips’ 2006 anthology, The Womanist Reader is an Instagram account that acts as a free online library and features PDF texts from Black female writers across the African diaspora.”
Bloomberg Opinion: Can Independent Bookstores Survive Covid-19?. “The pandemic has crushed independent booksellers across the country so ferociously, their futures are as precarious as they’ve ever been. There were about 1,887 independent book-selling companies running 2,524 stores nationwide in 2019, up from 1,401 booksellers running 1,651 stores a decade earlier, according to the American Booksellers Association. It’s hard to see how this growth spurt won’t be reversed now, given how many booksellers say they’re struggling to remain afloat. During the first few weeks of the corona-crisis alone, the Book Industry Charitable Foundation, a nonprofit that supports indies, received applications for emergency financial support from more than 670 booksellers.”
Fortune: E-book reading is booming during the coronavirus pandemic. “The COVID-19 crisis forced bookstores and libraries to close across the country, which has ignited a revival in reading electronic books. The e-book market had been in decline for the past six years, but now that it’s one of the easiest ways to get new books during the pandemic, libraries and publishers report a surge of new interest.”
Film Daily: Free online children’s books: Read these with your kids before bed. “Kids can whip through books faster than parents know what to do with themselves, and as kids get older they need books to cater to their reading level. It can be a lot to keep up with. Sometimes there isn’t always time to go to a bookstore or library – and it’s especially difficult these days with the pandemic. There is another option though – free online books. Children’s books have a number of options when it comes to accessibility. Many websites provide books for children for free, because they believe learning and reading are important. We’ve put together a list of some great options when it comes to bedtime stories.”
Neowin: Google launches app for helping kids to read in over 180 countries. “Google’s speech-based app designed to help children learn to read is now available in early access in more than 180 countries. The app was originally launched in India in March of last year as ‘Bolo’, and its global release introduces a new name for the app: Read Along.”
Make Tech Easier: 4 Best Reader Extensions for Chrome Reviewed . “The Internet is a simultaneously informative and distracting place, replete with information but also with a thousand panes, links, sidebars and banners that try to pull you away from what you’re reading at a given moment. A reader extension helps keep you focused by removing all the extraneous bits and just leaving you with the stuff you’re reading. These extensions also let you change font sizes, styles, and backgrounds for optimized reading. They’re handy, so we’ve decided to test four of the best reader extensions for Google Chrome and tell you just how good they really are.”
Wizarding World: Introducing the next phase of Harry Potter At Home. “With so many of us still staying at home, we are asking friends from the Wizarding World and beyond to read all seventeen chapters of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone/Sorcerer’s Stone for us. Some of the best-loved faces from global entertainment, music and sport have lent their voices to the story they love by recording videos of themselves reading the timeless first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone/Sorcerer’s Stone.”