Got a great note from Zev Lowe, one of the intrepid Kindle folks who are taking the Kindle to places unimaginable in order to help kids learn to read. Currently, Zev’s organization, WorldReader.org, is running a Kindle trial in a village in Ghana. When the WorldReader team discovered that the Kindles’ batteries were almost dead, and only after a couple of days of use, they were puzzled. Further investigation revealed that the wireless option had been enabled, and the Kindles had drained themselves searching for a signal in the remote region where they are located. So the team scooped up the Kindles and topped them off just before class by drawing on the 12-volt car batteries in a shed near the windmill that charges them. Read the whole story right here.
When I got my first Kindle two years ago, I could see a time when loads of books could be delivered to readers in remote places by shipping them via Kindle. WorldReader is doing that today. Their “mission” statement, from the top of their blog, is simple:
Worldreader aims to put a library of books in the hands of families worldwide, using e-reader technology.
The organization’s website goes a bit further:
Worldreader.org is developing the systems and the partnerships to get e-readers — and the life-changing, power-creating ideas contained in e-books — into the hands and minds of people in the developing world, where profit-seeking entities are not focused.
You can learn a lot about the project trial from the blog. Zev writes:
These kids are amazing — they’re aged from 11 to 14, many of them are orphans and new to reading, but they’re already hooked on Magic Treehouse and Curious George. Most recently, our blog covers how the people in the village of Ayenyah, Ghana – from the chief to the kids – reacted to the Kindle.
To get into the spirit of things, I created a couple of eReadUps for the kids: one on Curious George, its author, its publication history, and more, and one on the Under-20 Football Team in Ghana. Click on the titles to download these eReadUps in Kindle format to read for yourself, if you like.
Here’s hoping that WorldReader will achieve its goal and “give kids in developing countries access to a whole library of books using e-reader technology.” Of all the gifts to bring young people, the gift of reading may be the most significant for the future of the planet. Bravo!