In a nutshell
The Storytellers Project is a library service connecting a community of senior readers to children and their families for remote reading aloud sessions. Children uses the Storybell robot at home to connect with seniors willing to read, the Storybell robot transmits their reading live allowing them to speak as on the phone and projects on the wall pictures of the story being read.
Seniors who wish to read to children can become Storytellers by taking the Remote Reading Aloud training course at the local library. After completing the course, the Storyteller is granted the access to the Storytellers app, which authenticates her/him by facial recognition. The Storytellers app has a big collection of children e-books to read to children. Libraries have Ipads to borrow to Storytellers in case they do not own one.
Storytellers can set up their favourite reading hours and availability through the week directly in the app.
The child can borrow a Storybell to bring at home from the local library and subscribe to the service. When the child feels like listening to a story, she/he needs to grab the ring handle of the Storybell and shake it. Doing this will prompt the whole Storytellers community to read to the child and each Storyteller will receive a call on her/his Ipad.
The first one answering will be the child storyteller for that time. The Storyteller will read from her/his Ipad, while the child will listen and look at the pictures on the wall from the Storybell at home.
When instead there are Storytellers in the community available to read, it is the Storybell prompting the child to sit, and listen to a story being read. To do so, the Storybell will start rolling around the home to look for the little family member and when it finds him, it will go in circles around him impatiently, until the child will grab it and place in front of a wall.
Through the Parents app, parents can get to know more the Storytellers and check on their children activities. They can also follow the reading aloud sessions in listening-only mode.
If the child doesn’t want to interact with the Storybell when it is chasing him, he can always put it on the “Off mode” until he feels like engaging again.
The Storytellers project aims to foster intergenerational relationships which are beneficials for all generations involved: seniors, children and young parents.
The project would like to enable a community ecosystem which leverages on:
the older adults’ aspiration to be useful to society and to create something good for the younger generations
children's need to listen to stories and bond with different aged people for psychological development
young parents' need of support in children caring.