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Kindoma: a shared reading experience

I love the idea of expanding the reading experience–of making it a special, social, connected experience even when the kids we love are not in our laps.

Parents, grandparents and read-aloud buddies of all flavors, will want to take a look at Kindoma.

Available for iPhone and iPad, the free app allows two users to Kindoma for Shared Reading with Video Connectionconnect screens to share and interact around a story.  Its founders call it the new Skype for kids. But it’s really a far more specialized experience.

The name is a composite of two German words: kind for child and oma for grandmother.  Kindoma reading buddies see and hear each other in a specially designed video chat that allows both partners to see the same page, read at the same pace, and to point to elements on the screen with a shadowy moveable pointer finger.  Two different color fingers (grey and red) represent the two participating readers.

This app is a wonderful solution for traveling parents, those who are stationed abroad, remote grandparents and other relatives.  It is likely to seriously improve the quality of chat that we usually have with little ones.  It might also be used to connect classrooms and libraries for shared read-aloud sessions.


user reviews

After installing the Kindoma app, the user is prompted to take a photograph for their avatar and to invite others to join for story sessions by email with a nickname. The invitation features easy-to-follow download instructions.  Once the second person responds by registering, the app automatically connects them.

Kindoma offers a webcam, a small library of free titles, including a couple by Beatrix Potter, and a bookstore featuring more than 250 books from which you can buy additional titles with a monthly subscription ($6.99), a six-month subscription ($29.99), or one book at a time at $4.99.  Previews are available.  Most of the titles are for the under-seven set.

One thing.  Of course, rights are a big issue. While there is a lot to read, the variety is currently limited to a handful of public domain titles and a few publishers: Twin Sisters, Flowerpot Press, and ePals Media. So, you can keep very busy reading, but the popular mainstream favorites you and your kiddos may be looking for may be in this library, especially if you are a librarian.

Nevertheless, Kindoma is a great way to build meaningful bonds around story with kids and those who love them, but cannot be there at bedtime.

Here’s the back story from Kindoma’s founders:

And an early peek from Children’s Technology Review:

Thanks to Monica Burns for this lead!

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza

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