We take story time seriously in this house. No matter how manic or reckless the schedule, Kelly and I wrestle each girl down for a snuggle and a few stories at the end of each day. Story time is special for us. It’s time away from everything else; a time when we can enjoy a few moments together. It’s unlike any other part of our day.
The benefits of reading to children, even very young children, are understood to improve phonetic awareness and language ability. And luckily, reading is the one habit we’ve successfully kept going since the day Emma was born. We try for two stories per kid, per night, but I have to admit to occasionally piling everyone in the same bed in the name of efficiency. ;)
I’m sorry to report, though, that things aren’t great in the world of children’s literature right now. It could be because of the disappearance of the bookstore, or it could be because of the digitization of reading. The world is leaving children’s literature behind, and as a result, a ton of the books being offered to our kids today are simple, silly or hyper-commercialized. Most of these books have very little to do with our kid’s collective experiences. We can do better!
Recently, a group of people who are working towards a solution reached out to Kelly and me via email. We get a lot of emails regarding new products, but this one stood out to us both, and we had an entire conversation about the company over dinner that night. Because it’s that cool.
Rhymella is a new “intelligent children’s book publisher” that works in tandem with your digital photo library to create uniquely personal literary experiences for kids. More specifically, it’s an app that crafts children’s books from your camera roll without any work from you. Think of the excitement of preserving a fun trip to the park or beach in a Rhymella book: it can be pulled out and revisited over and over again, allowing for parent/child discussions and reflection.
The process is so easy:
- Do something cool with your kids and take pictures.
- Tap the Rhymella app on your phone.
- Select your favorite photos.
- Rhymella writes the story FOR you.
- You receive your book in the mail.
Emma had a really strong reaction to her first Rhymella book. A few pages in, she was so happy to see herself in the story that she started to cry. (TRUE STORY. Happy tears.) Emma wasn’t able to put it into words, but I think it’s commonplace for those of us with smartphones to swipe back and relive experiences from our lives, whereas children don’t have that luxury. The Rhymella was a link to her past and the memories overwhelmed her in the best way possible.
(It was also probably very surreal to see herself as a character in a book!)
Emma is now reading-crazy. (Of course, Lucy is such a voracious reader–so much so that she often attempts to eat her books.) We find piles of books in her bed and tucked under her pillows. She sets up reading circles with her dolls and spins them imaginary tales of princesses and mermaids from her books. She begs us for trips to the library and the bookstore on the weekends, and she piles her books in her wagon and parades them through the house. And I do think that her love of reading was strengthened through our introduction to Rhymella last year.
We don’t usually write entire blog posts about products that companies send us in the mail. But this seemed to call for a lengthier feature, and I hope it was an interesting to you as it has been for us! Until now, children’s literature has mostly missed out on the technological improvements reinventing pretty much everything else in our lives. Rhymella’s stories, though, are perfectly crafted to invite your kids into the world of reading. And that’s pretty awesome.