Back to Highlights Pressroom

Highlights and Bamboo Learning Introduce Highlights Storybooks Skill for Amazon Alexa to Supercharge Kids' Reading and Listening Comprehension Skills

Columbus, OH and Seattle, WA • Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Highlights for Children and Bamboo Learning introduce Highlights Storybooks from Bamboo, a highly-engaging skill for Amazon Alexa featuring ability-leveled stories, animation and narration from the Highlights Storybook Collection series. The Highlights Storybooks skill for Amazon Alexa initially offers 12 free English-language titles with associated skill-building exercises. The skill is available to customers using any Alexa device in over 80 countries by asking Alexa to “Open Highlights Storybooks”.

The Highlights Storybooks from Bamboo skill is designed by literacy experts to help children develop and practice skills in vocabulary building, language acquisition, and reading comprehension. Because Alexa is a voice-first service, children build the listening comprehension skills needed to become strong readers and learners. Studies show that reading makes kids happier, healthier, and more empathetic, and that kids who are confident readers are more successful overall in school.

How It Works

Highlights Storybooks from Bamboo works with any Alexa-enabled device, including Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Plus, and Echo Dot Kids Edition. In addition, families with screen-based Alexa devices, including recent Fire TV products, Fire tablets, and Echo Show, can take advantage of visually engaging illustrations and text to enjoy an enhanced play experience. The skill can be enabled for free by saying “Alexa, enable Highlights Storybooks.” The skill can also be enabled using the Alexa app or via Bamboo Learning’s web site at: www.bamboolearning.com.

The skill enables children to select a level using their voice and listen to a human narrator reading selections from the storybook. After each narration, Alexa asks questions about the story, evaluates the child’s answer, and provides feedback. Parents have the option to review their children’s progress and results via Bamboo Grove at www.bamboolearning.com/grove.


Screenshot of the Highlights Storybooks skill on Echo Show

“We’re thrilled to be working with Bamboo Learning to bring a new kind of Fun with a Purpose™ to children around the world,” said Kent Johnson, CEO of Highlights for Children. “Highlights Storybooks incorporate what families love most about Highlights – detailed, engaging content that helps kids learn and grow – and incorporates the element of voice-based interactivity which adds to both the delight and the educational benefits.  We are excited to see where children’s passion for these new voice-based products will take them.” 

“At Bamboo Learning, our goal is to offer families fun, educational, breakthrough experiences for voice services like Alexa,” said Ian Freed, Founder and CEO of Bamboo Learning. “We’re thrilled to work with Highlights, one of the most trusted, family-friendly companies in the world.”

Kids engage more when they can choose the stories and topics they read. Their innate desire to continue reading will motivate them to answer Alexa’s questions and move forward through the skill. Success and positive reinforcement will boost their confidence through the experience. Highlights Storybooks can go anywhere, anytime, so skill-building and fun can fit seamlessly into existing routines, study time, or down-time before bed.

“Customers tell us that they love using Alexa in the home, especially with their families,” said Joe Balzarini, Director, Alexa. “It’s our goal to provide families a fun and educational experience with Alexa, so we’re thrilled to offer the Highlights Storybooks skill that not only helps with reading and vocabulary, but sparks the imagination in a new way through voice.”

A video demo of Highlights Storybooks from Bamboo is available at www.bamboolearning.com/highlightsdemo.

A focus group video featuring children trying Highlights Storybooks from Bamboo together with Bamboo Learning’s Co-Founder and SVP of Content, Irina Fine, is available at www.bamboolearning.com/focusgroup.

About Highlights

Highlights is a beloved global media brand dedicated to helping children become curious, creative, caring, and confident™ through engaging content and experiences that are focused on nurturing and developing the whole child. Through stories, poems, puzzles, jokes, riddles, science, art, and more, kids are encouraged to think, problem solve, and build their literacy skills while having fun. Highlights reaches children 0–12 with its most popular magazines (Highlights, Highlights Hello, Highlights High Five, Highlights High Five Bilingüe [English/Spanish]), digital apps (Highlights Hidden Pictures, Highlights Monster Day and Highlights Shapes), books, toys, games, and a podcast incorporating classic favorites like Hidden Pictures® puzzles, Goofus and Gallant®, Dear Highlights letters, and more. Because Highlights offerings may be print or digital, purchased through subscriptions or retail, kids can engage with Highlights anytime, anywhere. To learn more and connect with Highlights, visit Highlights.com, HighlightsKids.com, Highlights Hangout, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

About Bamboo Learning

Based in Seattle, Bamboo Learning is an education-focused software and services company with a mission to become the leader in voice-first education applications and content. Bamboo Learning is focused on developing skills for Alexa that enable children and adults to have fun learning and practicing different subjects while listening, viewing pictures, and using their voice. Bamboo Skills, including Bamboo Books, Bamboo Math and Bamboo Music, automatically get more challenging as children and adults master different levels. Learn more at: www.bamboolearning.com  and find us on Twitter at: @learnwithbamboo.

For more information, please contact: 

Megan Lloyd Payne, Communications Manager for Highlights PRDepartment@Highlights.com

Lisa Amore for Bamboo Learning lisa@amorepr.com; 206-954-8006

Back to Highlights Pressroom
Contact Us

For more information or to arrange an interview with a Highlights for Children spokesperson, please contact our Public Relations department