New mobile app to promote reading among children

Young learners acquaint themselves with Hadithi Hadithi, a new Kiswahili reading app launched in Nairobi by eLimu targeting 5-7 year olds. [David Njaaga/Standard]

A local NGO has launched a Kiswahili mobile app to promote reading among children.

The application, Hadithi Hadithi, by eLimu, has a compilation of over 200 stories targeting children aged between five and seven.

eLimu Chief Executive Officer Sam Rich, who spoke during the launch of the app in Parklands, Nairobi yesterday, said it engages children in an interactive manner.

He said they decided to develop the application because grandparents and aunties no longer tell stories to children as was the case in the past.

"We hope this app will help revive the African culture where children were told stories," said Mr Rich.

The stories are in form of pictures and a narrator who describes them. At the end of each story, there are questions pupils are required to answer.

The application also has a spelling competition and games for learners.

The organisation also launched a national writing competition where children will be required to write stories. The best stories will be illustrated by an artist and described by a narrator and will have a chance to be included in the Hadithi Hadithi app.

According to Rich, the stories will be read, not only in Kenya but across the world.

"The app already has over 200 stories. They include stories which the children can easily relate to, including about animals, schools and games," said Rich.

He added: "So far, over 400 schools have benefited from this programme. Some have the app in three languages - Somali, English and Ugandan."

Alexia Sahara, the head of the business development at eLimu said: "We have carried out a survey and discovered most of the people who have access to the app tend to learn how to read four times faster compared to those who don't."

One of their teachers Rishna Gudhka, said the online app is good for the targeted age bracket.

"All stories in this app have good concepts," she said.