New online service applies the ‘Netflix’ model to literacy

“It’s a more full visual experience for young learners, being able to match text and image,” said Rose Else-Mitchell, senior vice president and publisher of Scholastic Education.

Scholastic’s BookFlix pairs together classic stories with nonfiction in a digital eBook format that can be used in a learning context or for personalized reading. The books, geared toward students in pre-kindergarten through third grade, are organized by themes. As with Capstone’s offering, the digital books include full audio—but despite its name, BookFlix doesn’t include a customization engine that can make targeted reading recommendations.

BookFlix is “used really effectively in both preschool and primary [classrooms] on a whiteboard. I call it the most giant ‘Big Book,’” said Else-Mitchell. “It’s great to see it in a primary classroom in that context, especially with a teacher who’s very agile with a [whiteboard], because [the teacher is] able to … bring up the games, then bring up the vocabulary, and have the kids read or repeat together.”

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BookFlix includes sounds and visual effects to correspond to the text on each page.

“It’s so engaging that children want to go back and reread, which, as we know, is a great skill for the students to become much more fluent,” Else-Mitchell said.

Both Brekhus and Else-Mitchell agree that the goal is not to replace traditional paper books, but instead to stimulate an interest in reading.

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