I was inspired by a free handout at my local public library, it was a “1000 books before kindergarten” workbook. The idea is that you track each book that you read with your children and try to read 1000 books before they begin kindergarten.
To begin with, this seems like a lofty goal! 1000 books are a lot of books. They do let you count books multiple times, so it is not unique books, but just reading books. Why do I love this so much? Well, the science shows that reading to your children is the most critical action a parent can take to ensure their child learns to read. Just reading to them is really important and they will learn from you as you read. This is one of the most important things a parent can do.
I love helping people do the things they know they should do, and although this worksheet seems like a perfect solution, I think I can improve on it with an app.
I would love to have it so that there will be a record of which books were read, this is mostly for fun when they get a bit older to look back and see what they have already read. It would also be nice to track the number of times a book was read. This would be interesting for tracking favorite books, or books that you would likely recall when you are older.
Parents and grandparents and other guardians might be reading with the child, so it makes sense that if they all had the same app, they could share the reading list. I think this also helps if you are away from home and reading. Anytime you read a book, you can track it. This could also include features to share the book lists with others or to share milestones so that other interested people can see the progress. This might inspire the child to read more or want to be read too more. It would also be good to help adult readers want to keep reading, and this is the most important goal.
Another nice feature might be sharing the books that were read at various ages with other people who might use the app so that they can see popular books or books that were read by many others. Seems like this could also be used to see how you are progressing towards the goal of 1000 books.
Another nice feature of the 1000 books – it should help mitigate the competitiveness of it, even if you are sharing and sharing books lists, you are not competing with the count, everyone is working towards the same goal.
I would like the app to have a UI that is pleasing and easy to use for adults since they are the main target of the app, but I would also like there to be moments that would be shared with the children. A bit of animation or celebrations as you make certain milestones would be fun and again, could cause it to be a bit more sticky and inspire everyone to keep driving towards the 1000 books.
The next step is to see what apps already exist out there, and make sure I’m not re-inventing the wheel. If that goes well, then I have a few technical challenges. I’ll need a way to track the books that is fast for the parents to use. I’ll also need a source for the book data so that I can track it. Finally, I’ll need to decide what mobile devices I plan to target.
With my personal experience being mostly in iOS, I might choose to go native iOS/Swift. But making an app for Android might also be great to have the largest audience possible, but then I would need to think about which frameworks the choose. I might investigate Kotlin and React Native.