Story time recently came alive for third graders at Usher-Collier Elementary School, thanks to new technology that helps children in pre-kindergarten through fourth grade with reading comprehension.
For the first time on March 30, third graders at Usher-Collier experienced Living Popups, the leader in Augmented Reality (AR) storytelling, while reading The Boxcar Children. The beloved series of elementary chapter books recounts the adventures of four orphaned siblings who turn an abandoned boxcar into their home. As students read the book during a live display, they placed their iPads and mobile devices over the illustrations, which caused the characters to pop out and come to life.
“The kids were very excited and engaged, and now they’re so excited they want to continue to finish reading the series,” said third-grade teacher Alicia Ward. “This is a great way to have reading implemented in the future, because this will encourage our kids who don’t like to read to want to read.”
Atlanta Public Schools is the now first school district in the country to receive the Living Popups Boxcar AR app.
This public-private partnership between Living Popups and APS was arranged by Council members Marci Bailey Overstreet and Matt Westmoreland. The gift of The Boxcar Children books accompanied by the augmented reality app is intended to help with reading literacy, a top priority for APS.
“We are delighted to share The Boxcar Children books and Living Popups’ AR mobile app with Atlanta Public Schools to help with their literacy programs,” Living Popups CEO Cheryl Bayer said. “We know that when children immerse themselves in reading with the AR app, the understanding of the material is greater and the learning becomes a more meaningful and positive experience.”
The Living Popups Boxcar AR app uses animated 3-D images of The Boxcar Children to bring them to life on the pages of the book. The characters ask the reader questions and inspire them to use their imagination and join the characters in exploring the story. This immersive experience helps to further engage the young reader and enhance their reading comprehension. When aimed at the book’s pictures, any mobile device with the app will suddenly bring the characters to life and into the reader’s world.
“We are both incredibly grateful to Living Popups for their commitment to students across Atlanta,” Overstreet said. “There is no work more important than ensuring our students can read on grade level. This public-private partnership will help make that goal a reality for our children. They are the hope and future of our city,” Westmoreland said.
“At APS, we are always looking for innovative and new ways to engage our students in learning, and there is no finer example of that than the Living Pop Ups Augmented Reality App,” Superintendent Dr. Lisa Herring said. “We are deeply grateful for this incredibly generous donation that will undoubtedly transform learning in our district and spark remarkable imagination and creativity in our students.”
The first four books of The Boxcar Children adventures are available with Living Popups AR enhancement in both English and Spanish. App users do not need to buy a new book if they have any of the first four books in the series. The AR app works with any “Boxcar Children” editions since 1942.