As a doctoral student studying children’s literature and fairy tales at Princeton University, Kate Clairmont says, “I think a lot about what kids are reading and how they’re reading.”
Not surprisingly, most are doing so through e-books or other forms of digital content. What kind of books, stories and articles are they reading—and how good is this material? Kate was curious. “I surveyed the landscape and realized that current options were falling short.” Much of the digital content she saw was AI-generated, formulaic and laden with ads, games and other ways to distract an already-distracted generation.
No wonder children are reading less.
“The number one reason that kids don’t read more is that they can’t find material they want to read, or that excites them,” Kate says. “I wanted to create a better product, that engages young readers.”
Enter Readwell, the digital app that Kate and her team developed through the eLab Accelerator program at Princeton’s Keller Center, offering high quality reading content that challenges and encourages 8-12-year-olds.
That pre-teen audience is not as well-served as other age groups, Kate says. And it’s a critical time for inculcating a love of reading. “That’s the age range when kids typically either become lifelong readers or not.”
Kate hopes to convert them to the joys and benefits of reading with what she calls “the best of the children’s classics,” as well as new and original content that is proprietary to the platform.
Like all good innovators, Kate started with a problem. That’s one of the core principles of The Innovation Mindset. So is a deep passion and belief in the solution to that problem. “Kids should be reading more material that’s thought-provoking and makes them think about the world in a new and different way,” she says. “That’s what we hope to provide with Readwell.”
Congratulations, Kate. That’s the Innovation Mindset in action! Have you got a similar mindset? Are you doing something innovative in your life—with your work? We’d like to hear from you—and we’d love it if you would include a photo of yourself with the book.