By guest blogger Kevin Connors
Denmark’s top selling educational app, WriteReader, is coming to the United States, fueled in part by a recent seed round that netted the company $800,000.
Founded in 2011, the Copenhagen-based WriteReader seeks to bring a new approach to reading instruction, where children learn to read by first learning how to write. Their Write to Read app helps children “sound out and write books on topics that interest them from day one,” says founder Babar Baig in a statement.
Children use the iPad app to record their stories, which then are translated into text through the app’s speak-to-text feature. A phonetic keyboard also allows the child to write out the story. Parents or teachers can also use the interface to write the story underneath the child’s version so that children can learn to read by comparing the two texts.
Baig calls this a “real life literacy” process and one that teaches reading and writing through the same method that we teach children how to talk.
WriteReader is currently used in nearly half of Denmark’s schools and claims that students who use this method not only improve their reading scores, but are able to write at a third grade level by the end of first grade. The app was also nominated as “best innovation” by Denmark’s Ministry of Education and Innovation.
The seed round will not only fund the expansion into the U.S. market, but also develop the new features for the WriteReader app. The new library feature allows children to share their self-created books with private or public audiences and access books created by others.
A free version of the app allows users to create their first two books for free, but unlimited use requires a $4.99 in-app purchase. A Pro version allows schools to license the app at a volume discount and offers cloud storage that allows students to create books at school and then access them at home. An Android and web-based version of WriteReader will also be released this month.
Danish publisher, Lindhardt & Ringhof, who is owned by Nordic media group Egmont, was the sole investor.
For more news on mergers, acquisitions, and venture capital in education, follow Marketplace K-12’s “K-12 Dealmaking” series.