Tonight’s Lullaby Is Brought To You By Kellogg’s

“Daddy will tell you one more story, Dear, but first, three strangers will spend thirty seconds each speaking glowingly about some stuff they’re hoping you'll beg me for.”

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Today’s  post is about storytelling, and how much it’s morphed from the way it began.

Anyone can sing to their child. Any parent can tell their toddler a story—some incident from your childhood, or theirs, or something silly you just make up on the spot. You don’t need a karaoke machine or a book or any prop at all.

But now let’s say you also have some friends who enjoy singing songs and telling stories to your kids. Like your guitar-playing pal from Philly. 

You might wish to thank your friend for entertaining you and your kids—to return their gift in some way. Maybe you’d offer them some milk and homemade cookies. Or a few bucks for some new guitar strings. That seems reasonable to me.

But you know what would be weird? To have some third party pay the people who entertain your children, in exchange for which the storytellers would allow their songs or stories to be interrupted periodically with sales pitches.

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As adults we accept the advertiser-sponsored content model, in part because we understand what’s going on. (Though I have my doubts about that too.) But to children, stories are stories and songs are songs and cute characters are there to be watched and listened to. Unquestioningly. 

Frankly, I think a fair amount of my objections to advertising aimed at children rests on aesthetic grounds (i.e., the commercials are tasteless, transparent, ugly and dumb.) But I have turned down more than one offer to run “unobtrusive, tasteful” ads at Readeez.com because I believe I have a one-to-one relationship with my audience. No third parties involved. And that’s really, really important to me.

I refuse to trade on that relationship, to sully it (in my view) with someone else’s agenda. 

So, now and henceforth, Readeez are brought to you by me. 

The Magic of SyllableSync

 

The ad industry figured it out years ago.

When a marketer really, really wants to make sure you get the message, here's what they do: At the end of the TV spot they give you the pitch in both printed words and spoken words. At the Exact. Same. Time. 

There's something powerful about it, almost hypnotic.

Your brain is decoding the information ("Amaze-A-Car. The perfect car for you.") visually and aurally—and the two modalities both reinforce and intensify each other.

Readeez calls this technique SyllableSync.™ And its applications extend beyond advertising into reading instruction. Here's how Glenn Doman described the phenomenon more than 40 years ago:  

"...when the man on television says, Gulf, Gulf, Gulf, in a nice clear, loud voice and the television screen shows the word GULF in nice big, clear letters, the kids all learn to recognize the word—and they don&rasquo;t even know the alphabet."

Note the specific conditions Doman attaches to the two elements of the communication: The voice is clear and loud; the letters are big and clear. Now take a look at a Readee and notice how large and clear the text is, how simple the background, how distinct the audio: 

When your child watches Readeez she's learning at least two things with every syllable.

1. This is how the sound I'm hearing is written.

2. This is how the characters I'm seeing are pronounced. 

She's also learning the correct spelling of every word.

Viewed from another angle, the SyllableSync™ approach is like a succession of flash cards, as might be presented by a parent or teacher. Each word (or syllable) is shown and sung simultaneously.

Of course, unlike flash cards, the content of Readeez is designed to entertain—so much so that kids ask to see their favorite Readeez repeatedly. And, as Anthony Robbins and others have pointed out, "Repetition is the mother of skill." 

Two Dads, Two Continents, Four Daughters

A dad in Cambridge, Mass., USA writes:

SUBJECT: Bravo!

MESSAGE: Hi Readeez Team. We found your website this morning, purchased the "combo" package. Both my daughters have been mesmerized.

My eldest has some learning disabilities, so your voice-to-text coupling is awesome. Your production quality is amazing.

I am hoping that Readeez will finally eradicate Caillou and Arthur from our house! 

 

A dad in Mae Sot, Tak, Thailand, writes:

MESSAGE: A few CEOs (including Steve Jobs) have been known to respond to customer emails themselves, and I found that you were one of them.

My daughters are two years old and two months old. I will tell them that you a friendly teacher and father. 

Thanks for your love and life...you make this world better.

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My thanks to you, dads (and moms and kids), for allowing me to contribute to your lives. 

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