Google’s New ‘Read Along’ App Can Help Improve Your Child’s Reading Skills


Without access to physical classrooms during the COVID-19 crisis, many children are relying on technology to continue their educations. A new application from Google aims to make this transition a little easier. As TechCrunch reports, Read Along is an interactive app designed to strengthen students' reading skills in the same way reading with a teacher or parent can.

Read Along is the new-and-improved version of Bolo, an app Google debuted in India in 2019. This upgraded iteration is meant to be used internationally, and it's compatible with nine languages.

Users have their choice of roughly 500 stories to choose from in the app. As they read along by speaking out loud, Google's speech recognition software monitors their accuracy. If a kid is stuck on a word or sentence that's particularly difficult, Read Along's virtual assistant Diya offers reading help and words of encouragement. Students can also ask Diya for reading or pronunciation help whenever they come across a word they don't recognize. To keep kids engaged and monitor their progress, the app challenges them to word games for the chance to win in-app rewards between readings.

Google's app is the latest example of how reading is being used to keep kids remotely connected while schools are closed. Reading Rainbow host LeVar Burton started hosting live story times on his Twitter page, and Dolly Parton has been reading books from her Imagination Library to young fans.

Parents and anyone else responsible for teaching kids at home can download Read Along from the Google Play store. The app is free, and it doesn't feature any advertisements or in-app purchases.

[h/t TechCrunch]

Celebrate the Holidays With the 2020 Harry Potter Funko Pop Advent Calendar


Though the main book series and movie franchise are long over, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter remains in the spotlight as one of the most popular properties in pop-culture. The folks at Funko definitely know this, and every year the company releases a new Advent calendar based on the popular series so fans can count down to the holidays with their favorite characters.

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Right now, you can pre-order the 2020 edition of Funko's popular Harry Potter Advent calendar, and if you do it through Amazon, you'll even get it on sale for 33 percent off, bringing the price down from $60 to just $40.

Funko Pop!/Amazon

Over the course of the holiday season, the Advent calendar allows you to count down the days until Christmas, starting on December 1, by opening one of the tiny, numbered doors on the appropriate day. Each door is filled with a surprise Pocket Pop! figurine—but outside of the trio of Harry, Hermione, and Ron, the company isn't revealing who you'll be getting just yet.

Calendars will start shipping on October 15, but if you want a head start, go to Amazon to pre-order yours at a discount.

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This Smart Wallet Only Opens With Your Fingerprint


Just about everyone has experienced that moment of panic when you realize you've misplaced your wallet, potentially leaving credit cards, cash, and identification cards out in the open for anyone to take. But what if the next person who picked up your wallet couldn’t even open it? The Cashew Smart Wallet uses fingerprint authentication and integrated Bluetooth to do just that, and you can get it today while it's 32 percent off.

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The Cashew Smart Wallet is the result of a Kickstarter campaign that was funded by 382 backers, sending it way past its original fundraising goal. In addition to the fingerprint tech, the wallet itself uses Bluetooth to connect to your phone—this allows your phone to send you alerts if you ever accidentally leave your wallet behind.

You can even utilize the smart wallet’s crowdsourced GPS feature, which connects Cashew users and alerts them to be on the lookout for a locally misplaced wallet. The wallet runs on a rechargeable battery that will hold a single charge for up to nine months to keep you connected for longer.

You can get a Cashew wallet for yourself today at a 32 percent discount, which brings the final price down to $100.

Cashew Smart Wallet with Biometrics & Bluetooth - $99.99

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