hoot launch

Hoot! Launch. Press Release

hoot is on the market

STORYTIME GOES MOBILE WITH HOOT! NEW APP BLENDS TRADITION AND TECHNOLOGY TO PROMOTE CHILDHOOD LITERACY—AND INSPIRE FAMILY FUN 

Launching in time for Father’s Day, Hoot! is a new iOS App that lets parents and kids record and share stories with family and friends 

THE FREE HOOT! APP IS PRELOADED WITH STORIES, PLUS OPTIONAL MUSIC AND SOUND EFFECTS 

NEW YORK, NY, June 11, 2020: With schools closed and entire countries locked down, the coronavirus pandemic has shifted much of the challenge of educating and entertaining children to the home. Just in time for Father’s Day, a new app gives parents a fun new way to engage kids with reading—and new ways for parents and kids to share a creative activity that the whole family (including grandparents) can enjoy together. 

Out now in the App Store, Hoot! is an easy-to-use app that allows parents and kids to record, save and share stories with each other—and with friends and other family members, even when separated by distance. The app comes pre-loaded with a collection of classic stories and fairy tales—such as Rapunzel, Cinderella and Puss in Boots—that parents and grandparents can read aloud and record, plus a Hoot! original Father’s Day story for kids to record for their own “Super Dad.” Parents and kids can also easily add musical tracks and sound effects to the stories they record, effectively turning their mobile phones into a personal digital recording studio. 

In the United States, one in four kids will grow up not knowing how to read. “Parents and teachers have long known that reading aloud to kids is perhaps the best way to build early language skills and literacy,” said New York City-based Co-Founder Luis Vinuales, president of Hoot!, a startup with offices based in New York, Barcelona and Buenos Aires. Reading aloud is also credited with strengthening the parent-child relationship and brain development, according to Reach Out and Read, a Boston non-profit1. “We created an app that makes reading aloud possible even when parents can’t be with their kids on the couch or at bedtime.” 

Vinuales originally conceived of the app as a way for parents who travel frequently for work to stay engaged with their kids—and for kids to hear a familiar voice anytime, day or night. Now, in the pandemic, he sees even more utility for Hoot! “In the age of social distancing, when so many grandparents are connecting with family members through technology, Hoot! gives older family members a new way to share stories they love with their grandkids. And when grandparents hear a Hoot! from their grandchild, they can also appreciate how much the child’s reading skills are developing.” 

To help close the literacy gap, Hoot! is partnering with World Literacy Foundation, a global non- profit based in Australia and whose efforts use literacy to emancipate young people from poverty. They believe that education is a human right regardless of geographic location and provide free access to school materials. Through its partnership with Hoot!, the app and the foundation will work together to develop innovative solutions that target wide-scale illiteracy. 

Hoot! is an app that adds a new dimension to the rapidly growing audiobook sector. Consulting firm Deloitte predicts sales will grow by 25% to $3.5 billion in 2020. The difference with Hoot! is that the stories are told by familiar voices, and the opportunities for customization and personalization are limitless. Marketing Director, Iñaki Vazquez noted that while the Hoot! app is free, Hoot! will be adding more content, including optional paid content, in the future. “We will be working with a variety of publishers and content creators to add much more content in the months ahead,” he said. “We’re interested to see how users respond to Hoot! and what they would like to see in the future.” 

Learn more about Hoot!

Website: https://hoot-audio.com/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/hoot-audio/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Hoot-Audio-102308628076571
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hoot_audio/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/hoot_audio 

For additional information, please contact: Richard Hine: 917-279-6679. richard@levitydept.com 

 

download-hoot / descarga-hoot

 

1 https://www.reachoutandread.org/why-we-matter/child- development/#:~:text=Spending%20time%20together%20while%20reading,a
%20lifelong%20love%20of%20readin g. 


un cuento para papa hoot

Let me tell you a story: the best gift for Dad on Father’s Day

Technology and warmth. Originality and tradition. In a year unlike any other, here’s an idea that will allow your kids to give Dad a gift unlike any other this Father’s Day. It’s perfect to share together – or equally splendid to enjoy alone. 

“Happy Father’s Day, Super Dad!” is a personalized story that reflects the wonder of the parent-child bond, and it’s especially designed to be recorded by the smallest members of the household (with a little help from Mom, if necessary). Available in two versions, based on your kids’ ages, it’s a gift that’s perfect for the times – and offered free on the Hoot! app.

Unique and unforgettable, “Happy Father’s Day, Super Dad!” is a home-made gift narrated in his child’s own voice that will both delight Dad on the day it’s received –

and become a meaningful and treasured memory in the future, something for Dad to carry with him and listen to again and again.

Delivered via cellphone, this original story captures the bond between father and child and reflects the most valuable aspects of the oral tradition: the transmission of literature through the spoken word, and the custom of sharing stories between parents and children. This time, however, it’s the child who tells the story – and the parents who sit back and listen.

“Happy Day, Super Dad!” is a simple text that designed for younger readers. It celebrates the role that a father plays in his child’s life – and how the day-to-day interactions we have with “Dad” create memories that stay with us for the rest of our lives. 

 “When it's bath time and I’m ready to get out, after I’ve finished making drawings on the fogged up mirror and my fingers are getting pruney, all I need to do is splash around for a bit and my dad comes to pick me up with a nice fluffy towel, ready to save me from the shipwreck!”

Whether it’s a snack prepared for two, a run in the park, or a simple bathtime anecdote,  any or all of these moments can become a part of the personalized story that Hoot! is offering for Fathers’ Day. With its friendly design and colorful illustrations, your child can read the text as written, or personalize it with his or her own creativity. Then get even more creative by adding music and sound effects to the story – it’s all included, right in the app.

The gift of literature always pampers the soul, and all the more so when it is narrated in the voices of our children. 

The history of Father’s Day

The father-child bond is something that is created – and celebrated – every day. In fact, those everyday moments are the foundation of our special Hoot! story. But one day on the calendar is set aside especially to lavish attention on our fathers, and in many parts of the world this day falls on the third Sunday of June. Why is this?

This date was established in the United States and is now shared in many countries, though some celebrate it at other times of year. The idea for Father’s Day began with Sonora Smart Dodd, one of the daughters of Civil War Veteran William Jackson Smart. In 1865, after the conflict was over,  Smart was a widower, in charge of raising his six children. Sonora decided to pay homage to him through the dedication of a day to his honor, and this is how the first Father’s Day came to pass one June 19th.

From this humble beginning, the holiday was embraced by others and began expanding to different parts of the country. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge made it a national event, designed to “establish more intimate relations between fathers and their children and to impress upon fathers the measure of their obligations.” In 1966, Lyndon Johnson determined that the festivities would take place the third Sunday of each June. Finally, in 1972, Richard Nixon made it a permanent national holiday.

From that moment on, the tradition has remained. The third Sunday of June is a day to celebrate and to show appreciation to our fathers in many parts of the world. These men deserve gifts that make them feel special, fit for the superheroes that they are.

 

A personalized story that reflects the wonder of the parent-child bond, especially designed to be recorded by the smallest members of the household. This is what Hoot! offers with the new free audiobook “Happy Day, Super Dad!”


tecnologia technology hoot

Technology Brings Us Together

Technology. It connects us, helps us to communicate, to access information, and to share ideas. But for years we’ve been told it’s also having a negative effect on society. Social media drives social alienation. We make more connections, but have fewer actual conversations. We spend too much time chasing likes, not enough time with those we really love.  Then came the pandemic. Many things changed. In some important ways, so did our relationship with technology. Screens became meeting spaces and windows to the outside world. Our computers, tablets and mobile phones became tools for family learning and sharing moments at home. Importantly, our screens helped us stay connected to the loved ones we couldn’t see and hug in person.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced sudden changes in our routines and given new meaning to many of the things we were already doing. For children, taking pictures and starring in videos now come as naturally as playing with blocks or painting with watercolors. For parents, understanding how kids are using technology – and making sure their screen time is as meaningful as possible – has become more important than ever. 

What if, in this moment, there could be a better way of creating shared moments with Mom and Dad… a new way of doing things together that was both fun and educational… a new tool that promoted creativity while allowing parents to maintain control over the use of the family’s devices?

At Hoot! we believe that the best ways to use technology do allow for real interaction and connection. And in this moment, when parents are more focused on educating and entertaining their kids than ever before, there’s an opportunity to find new ways to spend time together – telling and sharing stories, having fun, being creative, and making meaningful memories.

Our app uses technology as a bridge to learning and discovery. Anyone – parent or child – can use Hoot! to record and share a story, using supplied texts, or your own creativity. Or the whole family can work together to create and share a story in which everyone plays a part. The possibilities are endless.

We hope to encourage parents and kids to read more together and use their screen time most productively, taking advantage of technology’s ability to put a world of knowledge at your fingertips. Through devices such as mobile phones, it is possible to access encyclopedic content or library collections in different parts of the world, as well as literary and musical works that were beyond the daily cultural horizon not so long ago. (With that in mind, we’ll be adding a lot more content to our own app in the weeks and months ahead.)

As you may have discovered, both before and during these pandemic times, a total restriction on screen use is not only counterproductive for children and adolescents, it is also a lost battle. Today’s kids have devices within reach, whether at home, at school, or when visiting family and friends. Given this reality, the main recommendation from specialists is that parents should monitors or put limits on screen time and activities. This is a moment in which parents can promote positive and productive technology habits – and create the opportunity for shared family activities that can also become habits.

Covid, a turning point

According to a study carried out in Spain by the platform Empantallados and the consulting firm GAD3, with the support of the European Commission, two out of three families considered that the benefits derived from the use of screens since the coronavirus broke out were greater than the risks involved in spending more time connected and using technological devices. Among those surveyed, 85% of parents agreed that screens have created new opportunities to do things with their children. More than 75% said that the devices helped them communicate more with family and friends. And 50% also highlighted that the technology allowed them to engage more in their local community.

At a time of fewer outings and more technology, 67% of parents also agreed that the pandemic had created an opportunity to dialogue with their children (especially with adolescents) about how to make healthy use of screens. 

Within the educational field, it is anticipated that the global spread of the COVID-19 virus will cause an increased and long-term shift toward online learning. This is also true at home, as parents navigate a new world in which cellphones and screens won’t simply be tools for distraction, but vital gateways to new forms of learning and shared family moments.

 

The pandemic presents convincing evidence: Screens can become meeting spaces and windows to the outside world. Use tablets and mobiles for family learning, while sharing moments at home and connecting with loved ones.


la escucha de cuentos hoot

The benefits of reading aloud last a lifetime

Telling stories to our children is one of the oldest and most enduring practices of parenting. Despite lifestyle changes, the advent of advanced technologies and the proliferation of devices, bedtime stories are still a daily ritual in many homes around the world. Today, audiobooks are enhancing this phenomenon, both as a supplement to in-person storytelling and as reading option that extends beyond childhood.

For small children, hearing stories read aloud stimulates the early acquisition of language, broadens the vocabulary and fosters a love of reading. When storytelling comes from a familiar voice, it also strengthens emotional bonds. All of these effects can be multiplied through audiobooks, which make listening to stories possible even when a parent can’t be there to read in person.

“It’s important to note that listening to audiobooks is not ‘cheating’. The main purpose of reading is to obtain information. It makes no difference the route by which that information reaches the brain,”says Jamie Martin, of the New England Assistive Technology Center (NEAT) in Hartford, Connecticut, who works with children whose learning disabilities affect their reading and writing skills. Martin notes that while children are learning to read and write, they direct their attention more to the pronunciation of words than to the attempt to comprehend what is being said.  “Audiobooks may eliminate the need to decode so that they can focus their attention on meaning,” he says.

Results of the study “Children and Young People’s Reading in 2019”, sponsored by the National Literacy Trust in the United Kingdom, point in the same direction. Based on a survey of 56,906 children and young people between the ages of 9 and 18 years, the study concluded that audiobooks foster the self-acquisition of reading in children.  

From the University of Salamanca in Spain, Araceli García Rodríguez and Raquel Gómez Díaz, authors of “Reading with your Ears?: Audiobooks and Literature for Children and Young Adults” (2019), analyzed the benefits of the use of audiobooks in educational environments, where they function as a complement to traditional reading on paper. They emphasized that audiobooks help small children to pay attention, amplify their emotional experience through the nuances of voice, and foster the development of cognitive activity through the creation of mental images based on listening.

By stimulating a child’s imagination as well as his or her language skills, recorded stories can play a key role in educating and entertaining children – with the added benefit that they can be listened to again and again.

Adults benefit, too

Despite being a firmly-rooted practice that has endured over time, the custom of telling stories to children is often interrupted when kids start to read fluently alone, or simply as they grow up. But take heed: both listening to stories and reading literature aloud provide multiple benefits to adults, too. 

In her book entitled The Enchanted Hour (Harper, 2019), the author Meghan Cox Gurdon explains: “It would be a mistake to relegate reading aloud entirely to the territory of childhood. Adolescents and adults that are read to aloud – though they receive scarce attention from the scientific community – unquestionably enjoy benefits of an intellectual, emotional, literary and even spiritual nature.”  In addition, says Cox, “for exhausted middle-aged adults, whose attention is divided over a thousand areas, taking the time to read aloud can be like applying a soothing balm to the soul. For the elderly, the effects can be consoling and invigorating, like those of a restorative tonic or a medicine.” For all of these reasons, it is important both to read aloud and to listen to other voices reading literature, and not only during childhood.  

In the words of Juan Mata Anaya, President of the Spanish Association Entrelibros, “It’s a pleasure to listen to others speak, read, interpret... It’s a primary pleasure. Our brains were hearers before they were readers, and the seductive power of the voice is immense. Moreover, the reading aloud of a text opens up meanings that are sometimes not apparent when one reads in silence, to oneself.”

 

It’s a pleasure to listen to others speak, read, interpret... It’s a primary pleasure. Our brains were hearers before they were readers, and the seductive power of the voice is immense”.
Juan Mata Anaya, President of Entrelibros


compartir un hoot , share a hoot

Build a Bridge. Share a Hoot!

For all the changes and transformations in how we’re raising our children during these times, some basics remain constant. For example, the need for shared play time between parents and children – and the essential role parents play in helping their kids connect with literature and develop their imaginations. While we can’t turn the tide on technological advances, in today’s screen-based world, the challenge for parents and educators is simple: to ensure that we don’t forget the essentials of the parenting process. And that is where Hoot! comes in.

With Hoot! the ancient tradition of reading aloud to kids merges with 21st-century technology, allowing you to record and share – and re-listen to – your favorite stories whenever you want to and wherever you may be.

Just ask yourself: “What if we record a story?” Launch the app and you are already on your way. Next, you make your own choices and apply your own creativity: Which story shall we share today? Who will give voice to the story? Who will be the listeners? What is the story’s tone? Maybe you want to rehearse first. Then you might want to start imagining which music will be best and which sound effects to add at key moments.

Then comes the best part. Start recording, put yourself in the character´s shoes, and record a story that’s full of imagination, literature, and creativity. Everyone can get involved in creating and listening to a Hoot! It’s an activity that’s ideal for a family Sunday at home or a rainy afternoon.

And remember, a Hoot! can be heard around the world. Maybe you want to record one as a birthday present or for some other celebration, or simply a gift to surprise a loved one who lives far away or who is about to go on a trip and who will now be able to put their family’s voices and stories into their luggage. 

Sharing a Hoot! for the first time with someone is fun and surprising. Receiving a file, opening it, and hearing your family’s voices immersed in a magical world is unforgettable. And the effect doesn't stop there. Receiving a personalized story generates a great desire to hear another, and then another.

The wheel that begins to turn keeps going, generating stories reminiscent of that first shared Hoot! and its effects, and creating the desire to respond by sharing another Hoot! 

Soon, you will create a whole library of stories told through the voices of loved ones. A real treasure. 

A special way to connect with grandparents

Sharing a Hoot! always guarantees a special moment. However, when it comes to grandparents, some of these moments are extra special, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. 

As Hans Klunge, the head of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) European office said recently: “I want to convey a message to the children, keeping your grandparents safe means that you cannot visit them in person, but call them, talk to them every day so that they do not feel alone. Physical distance does not have to mean social isolation.” 

As many families have already discovered, technology can be the bridge that keeps families connected – and allows grandparents and grandkids to maintain a daily bond. Sending love and sharing smiles through daily calls or video call have now become a habit, and many grandparents are now more comfortable than ever with technology!

Recording stories with the Hoot! app takes that connection to a whole new level. Kids can show their grandparents how their reading (and performing) skills are improving by creating Hoots! for grandma and grandpa. Grandparents can join in the fun by recording their favorites texts – or telling their own favorite stories – to send to the grandkids.

And because Hoots! can be saved and re-listened to, these precious moments can be enjoyed again and again. 

Get started today – and multiply their joy by sharing a Hoot!

 

Sharing a Hoot! for the first time with someone who’s never heard of it is very fun and surprising. Receiving a file, opening it, and hearing your family’s voices immersed in a magical world is unforgettable.


lectura temprana literatura hoot blog

Discovering literature while still in diapers

As with eating or talking, children learn to relate to books by observing their elders. But unlike eating and talking, creating the bond between babies, children, and the written word is a much more active process. Mothers, fathers and adult caretakers all have a role to play in making that magical connection happen. Thankfully, though, the ingredients of this magic spell are not a secret.

Organizations such as the National Education Association (NEA) recommend that younger children see their parents or adults reading on a daily basis. They suggest that the act of reading should become a daily routine as important as brushing one’s teeth, with at least twenty minutes dedicated to reading time with children every day.

The importance of encouraging reading from the cradle is not new. As early as 1978, educational psychologists Jerome Bruner and Anat Ninio published a study which became a classic, revealing that from the age of 8 months, babies begin to interact with adults in relation to elements in their environment. In their own way, they “comment” on what surrounds them, using and developing their capacity for shared attention. To encourage this, parents can introduce reading as an activity for babies from the first days or weeks of life. 

In today’s screen-based world, there are now many ways to integrate those screens into reading moments that give children access to engaging literature. However, it still remains important to give young children access to works on paper. In fact, a recent study at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center showed that reading aloud to a child with a story explained using still pictures promotes far more brain development than hearing the same story while watching a video. That’s why it’s always a great idea to have books in the home or when traveling – they are instantly accessible, and never need to be recharged. 

Prioritizing the baby-literature bond sets in motion what some researchers call the “virtuous circle of reading.” Those who read a lot from an early age develop cognitive skills that lead them to read more and more as they get older. These were some of the conclusions that specialists Anne Cunningham, from the University of Berkeley (United States), and Keith Stanovich, from the University of Toronto (Canada), set out in a study published in 2017.

These finding are reinforced by the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center research which showed, when listening to stories, a higher level of brain activity in children aged 3 to 5 whose parents were in the habit of reading to them from a very young age.  

The Cincinnati researchers also studied the areas of the brain that project mental images, to assess how well a child is able to “see the story” through images generated by his or her imagination, as well as the activity detected in the parietal lobes, which are related to language and comprehension. Their findings showed that increased brain function was directly correlated to the reading level adults had passed on to children: More and better reading meant more and better brain function.

The science now backs up what parents and teachers have known for centuries: Books and literature help young minds develop, spark the imagination and boost comprehension, which, in turn, creates the desire to read more and more. Such is the magic generated in a child's literary universe. 

Not just information: It’s also about emotion

"A child who doesn't read has emotional anemia." This is how Begoña Ibarrola, one of the most widely read authors of children's stories in Spain, defined the importance of children's literature in the emotional development of very young children. In a dialogue with the newspaper ABC, she highlighted that "stories encourage self-knowledge and emotional awareness, showing us who we are and, more importantly, who we can become". 

In recent years, one work has become emblematic of how children's literature addresses emotions: Anna Llenas' The Coloured Monster. The protagonist is a character who helps explain emotions to children, using different colors to identify different moods. According to data from the publisher, Flamboyant, it has already been published in 25 languages and has sold more than one and a half million copies worldwide. 

 

Share at least 20 minutes a day reading with your children.  Let them choose what to read!


un mercado que crece hoot

What’s behind the audiobook boom?

Oral storytelling. It’s how mankind has entertained and shared knowledge since ancient times. It’s how parents continue to spark the imagination – and build the language skills – of children every day. And even as new technologies and entertainment formats continue to be introduced, the power of the spoken word to connect and inform has never been more clear. 

Before 2020 began, we were already in the midst of an audiobook and podcasting boom. And the global effects of an unexpected pandemic – including lockdowns and an increased number of people working remotely – have only reinforced the trend, as adults seek new ways to connect with ideas and information, and parents devote more time to educating and entertaining their kids at home.

The growth of audiobooks, of course, has coincided with the age of the smartphone, which means for the first time in history, most people have a universe of literary possibilities right at their fingertips.

In this new era, audiobooks have helped expand the market for written works, bringing in new readers who would not otherwise engage with print or ebooks. A study released at the last Frankfurt Book Fair showed that 50% of audiobook users had not read a single book in print in the past year, suggesting that the audio format invites those who are not accustomed to reading, or who have little time for it in their daily lives, to submerge themselves in books they wouldn’t otherwise read.

How much the trend will accelerate in the age of COVID-19 remains to be seen, but the shift to audiobooks was already underway: According to the Audio Publishers Association, (APA), one of every two Americans over the age of 12 has already listened to at least one audiobook. That’s a six-point increase since 2018. 

In the coming years, experts predict that audiobooks will account for between 10 and 15 percent of the book publishing industry’s anual revenue, which currently stands at more than $32 billon dollars worldwide.

Audiobooks may get an additional boost during the pandemic as many bookstores and other physical points of sale are temporarily closed. Even amid declining sales volume, US and European publishers have seen revenue growth in print books in recent years due to price increases. In this new normal, audiobooks are positioned to attract both new and existing book customers to the format at an attractive price point – with the potential to convert users of technology into avid consumers of literature.

As publishing expert Javier Celaya, director of the Spanish editorial consultant Dosdoce.com, said recently: “It’s counterproductive for the book world to disparage reading on screens or listening to audiobooks, given that these are the formats that can help the sector recover lost readers and create new audiences. The important thing is reading, regardless of the format.”

A powerful connection

Bringing an author’s words to life through an audiobook creates the intimate connection between reader and listener that is at the heart of the oral storytelling tradition. 

Making it happen is an army of professionals – from the programmers and designers who create formats that can circulate and be listened to through mobile phones, to the actors and actresses that give voice to written adventures. 

For the reader, the options are now almost limitless. From any location and any time, day or night, they can now connect their ears and their imaginations to classic novels, contemporary fiction, works that are specially created to be read aloud, and much more.

Within today’s busy lifestyles, audiobooks are emerging as a resource to be taken advantage of and enjoyed while doing housework, exercising or walking/commuting to work or school. In fact, 52 percent of listening takes place away from home – on public transportation or in the car.

According to the latest statistics, almost half of audiobook consumers – 48 percent – are less than 35 years old. In Europe and the United States, fiction is the most popular choice; while in Latin America, essays and non-fiction are preferred, reflecting the rise of podcast journalism. 

In Celaya’s analysis, the increasing popularity of audiobooks even as print sales fall, proves that reading is evolving, not disappearing: “On the contrary, there is more reading today than there was in previous decades. Digital readers are very good readers.”

 

50% of audiobook listeners did not read a single printed book during the past year. 48% of listeners are less than 35 years old and 52% of listening takes place on public transportation or in cars.