As it’s world book day today, we wanted to shed light on an awesome reading tool that we think is super innovative and fun, as it helps more and more kids (and parents) find the joy in reading. Built by Melissa and Matt Hammersley who leveraged their backgrounds in visual design and voice recognition engineering, respectively, to create a prototype of Novel Effect after witnessing a friend read to a child using exaggerated expressions and makeshift sound effects.
When an adult reads aloud to a child from a real book, the Novel Effect app will respond to what the adult says with interactive music, sound effects and character voices, to bring the story to life. Novel Effect essentially aims to empower parents / caregivers to share reading time with their kids, making it a magical experience and ultimately, instil a love of reading that goes on into adulthood.
So, how does this work?
Novel Effect is an app which is compatible with a healthy library of storybooks. In order to use Novel Effect, you must have the book in either print or e-book format and then you can sync the app, which will follow your voice as you read - adding in exciting soundscapes!
Professional composers craft the immersive and interactive music, sound effects, and character voices connected to each book listing in the library to match each book’s spirit and tone.
You can connect whatever device you are using the app from to a bluetooth speaker to make the sounds even louder, making the whole experience a lot more immersive and engaging (although maybe not before bedtime!)
Why do we think it’s awesome?
- It’s great to encourage parents to read with their children - the more reading time they spend together vastly improves the child’s language comprehension and development
- We’re always looking for tools which aim to enrich children’s lives and this does exactly that!
- It gets kids off of the screens and immersed into a book, which they may otherwise find boring
- It can be used by parents, educators, schools and public libraries - reaching kids from multiple aspects of their lives and maximising the opportunity for all kids to interact with the tool (e.g. if their parents can’t afford it but their school utilises it)
But it hasn’t come without some criticism…
- Some people complain about its price point and lack of free demo experiences… (which used to be a thing)
- Not all books are on the app!
- Sometimes the sounds seem to interrupt the flow of the parents reading
Perhaps faking that scary monster voice with the odd zoooom, crash! soundscape from mum or dad isn’t bad after all.