Last weekend, my kids read books face-to-face with their
eighteen month-old cousin who lives in Boston. And it all took place on
the computer using Readeo.
know, this sounds a bit confusing at first. I felt that same way when I
met with Chicago dad Coby Neuenschwander a few months ago and he told
me about his new website.
Now that I've had a chance to use the
site, I think that the best way to describe it is Skype meets Kindle for
kids -- users can read books online while viewing each other
face-to-face. Great idea, don't you think?
Here is how Readeo works. You create a profile for
your family and invite friends and relatives to join you as Guests on
the site as well. Then you can peruse the "shelves" and choose books to
read alone or using "BookChat."
The "BookChat" feature of Readeo
is the truly amazing part. The book appears on the screen with
beautiful and clear graphics. Then there is a video window that shows
your face and another window showing the face of whoever you are reading
with (say Grandma or Dad when he is on a business trip).
format allows the users to connect and share a true reading experience.
My kids were mesmerized by the vivid graphics in the actual books and it
was fun to be able to see my niece's reaction as she was seeing and
hearing the very same thing.
It took me a few minutes to
navigate around and figure out how to invite others to join and then
connect up on the site. Once I got that part set up, the rest of the
experience was a breeze. My nearly six year-old daughter was able to
choose books and get started all on her own.
offers a nice selection of books (some titles we were familiar with and
others were new to us). At this point, the book selection is not huge
but Coby assures me that plenty more books are being added -- including
20 new titles being introduced in the coming weeks.
I think that
Readeo is something that all
families could use, whether they have out-of-town relatives or not.
Obviously, this is a unique opportunity for kids to connect with
far-away family members that the telephone simply can't provide. Kids
can also use the site to choose any one of the books in the library and
read independently. The person on the other side of the screen doesn't
have to live miles away -- my kids would be totally tickled to share
bedtime reading with their cousins who live just a few blocks away.
If you want to try Readeo out and see for yourself, you can do so for
free. Here's how: both parties should sign up as Guests and try a
BookChat together using the Book of the Month.
I am giving away a
one-year subscription to Readeo
over on my personal blog. Take a minute to click on over and check it out. All you have to do is leave a comment to enter
to win (plus extra entries available for following
Readeo on Twitter or becoming
a fan of Readeo on Facebook. All entries must be received by
midnight CST on Monday, April 5, 2010.