There is an art to reading a book to a child. You pace your every word, pause at exactly the right moments, and maybe even read their favorite parts one more time. If you're in the mood, you even give each character their own voice and add your own sound effects for the wind whooshing through the trees and the duck quacking in a pond.
These are the details that ignite the magic of storytelling. They captivate a child's attention, tap into their imagination, engage their senses, and help them fall in love with the humble entertainment that is a well-written book.
But as wonderful as this sounds, not everyone is a master storyteller. Whether you're a parent, a teacher, or a caregiver, you may need some help bringing the story to life—some "magic up your sleeve," you might say.
Before Matt and Melissa Hammersley had their first daughter, they threw a literary-themed baby shower filled with children's books and enthusiastic guests.
During the event, a good friend of theirs decided to read one of the books aloud. Normally, this would be cringe-worthy among adults, but she read it in such wonderfully visual detail that everyone in the room was spellbound.
This mesmerizing moment inspired the couple to offer that same magical storytelling to others. So they founded Novel Effect, a startup that aims to help children fall in love with reading books.
Voice interactive storytelling
Novel Effect is an app that uses smart voice recognition to follow your words and add music, sounds, and even character voices to enhance your story. It works with both online and offline books, as long as the same story is available in the app. All you have to do is start reading.
As you go through the story, the app will listen to your words to play the right sounds at the right moments. Furthermore, if you decide to skip ahead or go back, the app will sync with your voice so the new flow of the story runs seamlessly.
For a clearer mental picture of how it works, imagine getting comfy on your child's bed with their favorite book in your hand. Before you turn to the first page, you open an app on your phone and tap to select the same book on the screen, then you set your phone to the side.
You begin to read, and as you reach the first mention of a cold, winter's night, your phone sends a howling wind into the room. When you reach the monster of the story, a growl escapes from your phone at just the right moment.
Throughout the story, your words are complemented with ominous music, setting the scene for what comes next. Then, when the monster is defeated and the townspeople celebrate, the fanfare of trumpets and cheers fill the room.
It's a voice-driven storytelling experience like nothing we've seen before. By leveraging voice technology, Novel Effect helps focus the little ones, engages them with reading, and transforms storytime into one of their fondest childhood memories.
"Our hope is that whether you are a parent, a teacher, an older sibling, or a caregiver, Novel Effect will make it easier for you and a child to come together around a book and share a memorable moment."
- Matt and Melissa Hammersley. (Source)
Bring your stories to life with voice
Be it a children's book or branded storytelling—voice technology can empower storytellers to engage their audience in a way few media channels can.
You can learn how to wield this people-pleasing power at the VOICE Summit, hosted in Newark, New Jersey later this year. At the Summit you'll hear from master storytellers, brand voice designers, and pioneering creatives in industries where voice technology is already making a difference.
To join us at the Summit, register here.