WriteReader Raises $800,000 to Expand to US Market

WriteReader Raises $800,000 to Expand to US Market


The #1 selling educational app in Denmark is coming to the US, thanks to $800,000 in seed funding from Nordic media group Egmont.

Since 2011, WriteReader’s “Write to Read” app has offered an iPad tool for children as young as three to create digital books as they learn how to read. The company believes that literacy and writing skills can be developed hand-in-hand, and claims that students using the tool are often able to write at a third grade level by the end of first grade.

“It’s the same methodology as when we teach children how to talk,” founder Babar Baig tells EdSurge. “A child makes an attempt, and the parent helps them learn the right way to say the words.”

On the iPad app, students can record and tell a story in their own words, which is then put into writing through a speak-to-text feature. They can also type out the story on a phonetic keyboard. Based on the student’s version, parents or teachers can then write out text underneath, so the young student can learn to read by associating objects and characters in their stories with the right words. Adults can then publish the books to either a private or public audience.

“If you teach a child how to read with the ABCs, the child will learn the letters I and S, and be able to read ‘IS,’’ explains Baig. “The child will have to wait a few years to express an interest in dinosaurs,” since they won’t be able to recognize more complicated words for some time. With Write to Read, students are exposed to more advanced words based on their own interests. As Baig explains, “they can start with however they think a word can be spelled, and the adult will correct them.”

According to WriteReader, the app has been recognized as the “best teaching resource” by the Danish Ministry of Education. The free version of Write to Read is used by teachers and students in grades preK-2 in over 700 schools--out of 1600 schools in Denmark--with over 600,000 books created by young authors.

WriteReader launched a premium version of the app in August 2014, and has sold over 100,000 licenses. In the pro version, which integrates with the one learning management system used in Denmark’s K-12 schools, all the books are automatically saved online, so a student can access their creations by logging into his or her account from any device.

With this seed round, Baig plans to expand into the US over the next six months. On the free version in the App Store, users can create two books, and then make an in-app purchase of $4.99 to make unlimited books. A pro version for schools will cost $3-$4 per device.

Baig also plans to offer more features on Write to Read, including gamification elements using badges. “If you could give a child a mini-author badge for creating their first book, this could increase their motivation for literacy,” he explains.

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