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$18,769 pledged of $150,000 goal
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By Kyle Tomson
$18,769 pledged of $150,000 goal
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About this project

What Is Crack The Books?

Crack the Books is a series of interactive non-fiction books. They are the first digital books that can be adjusted for reading level without sacrificing the concepts being taught.  With a touch of a button, a parent or teacher can select one of five reading levels, ranging from a 1st grade text to an 8th grade text.  Parents and teachers can now adapt a single book to meet the needs of every child, regardless of their reading proficiency. 

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Video #1 - The text changes with reading level changes, but concepts remain the same.

Reviews For Crack The Books

***** Flawlessly Designed - Children's Book Review

***** A Truly Exceptional Learning Experience - Kids' Book Review

***** Simply Brilliant - Apps for Children With Special Needs

***** 2014 Kapi Award - Honorable Mention

***** Editors' Choice Award - Children's Technology Review

***** A Masterpiece - Teachers with Apps

***** Near Perfection - Mobile iEducator

***** Phenomenal  - Technology in Education

***** Revolutionary - The Appy Ladies

Our Kids Need Crack The Books

My name is Kyle and I'm a developer of education apps for young kids.  As a parent with school aged kids, I see teachers struggle to work with a wide range of student reading skills, all day, every day.  We parents struggle with this same issue in our own homes as well.  Sometimes the school books our kids need to read are too hard for them, and sometimes they're too easy.

Studies have shown a direct correlation between the reading proficiency of kids as young as the 6th grade, and their eventual high school graduation rate.  In essence, by the time a student reaches the 6th grade, their ability to read at grade level predicts to a large degree whether they will graduate from high school. The longer they lag behind their peers, the higher the likelihood they won't graduate.

Even by the 3rd grade, most struggling readers already know they are struggling, and are at risk for losing all enthusiasm to read. Reading becomes a chore, and a constant reminder of something they don't do well.  Parents of struggling readers know how hard it can be to find a content appropriate book that their kids can read and understand.

I created Crack the Books to help.

The goal of Crack the Books is to drive kids to WANT to read.  They are designed to help kids of all reading capabilities, from those with special needs to those with academic gifts, become better and more confident readers.

While the reading level adjustment is a powerful tool, the fact is if kids don't like reading, they aren't going to read.  In order to foster a desire to read, we have included hundreds of audio visuals inside each book.  On top of the images and videos you would expect, there are animated maps, custom animations, and interactive globes and activities to help students understand difficult concepts.

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Video #2 -  Students can rotate the globe to see where this type of forest is located.

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Video #3 - Students adjust average temperature and rainfall and watch how those changes affect the biome.

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Video #4 - A custom animation to help students understand how trees use the sun as an energy source.

There are also built in tests for each chapter and reading level to help parents and teachers measure their students' understanding of the material.

Our first three books cover forests, oceans and grasslands.  We will round out our earth science series with books about deserts, freshwater and the cycles of earth. We also have a social studies series and a physical science series on the drawing board. 

Rewards

As rewards we will be offering our already released iPad compatible books as well as one-year and two-year subscriptions for our upcoming Crack the Books bookshelf app. 

Pines to Vines - The Forest Biome
Pines to Vines - The Forest Biome
Seashores to Sea Floors - The Ocean Biome
Seashores to Sea Floors - The Ocean Biome
Blades - The Grassland Biome
Blades - The Grassland Biome
Prototype of Bookshelf Version of Crack the Books
Prototype of Bookshelf Version of Crack the Books

Bringing Crack The Books To Life

It's been a long and rewarding process to get Crack the Books where it is today.  The epiphany for Crack the Books came while driving back from my daughter's 3rd grade fall parent/teacher conference two years ago.  Her teacher mentioned that over half her students were either reading very far below grade level, or they were reading very far above grade level. She was losing her mind trying to help the kids who were behind catch up, while NOT putting her gifted kids to sleep.  And that's when it hit me - why not make a single book that can be adapted to every reading level!

Pines to Vines being used in the classroom
Pines to Vines being used in the classroom

We have partnered with universities and teachers to develop the content for each book. Researchers from Oregon State University, New Mexico State, University of New Mexico, University of Alaska, Doane College, and the University of Wisconsin, along with the USGS have been instrumental in helping us create the most up to date and accurate kids' science books on the market.  On top of that, we are working with award winning photographers, videographers and animators from all over the world to bring the content to life.

How We'll Use Your Support

Developing science books with the magnitude of audio-visuals we include is an expensive process.  For each book, we are working with hundreds of photographers, dozens of videographers, and a staff of animators, writers, editors and programmers.  Each book costs tens of thousands of dollars to produce.

We plan on using your support to do three things.

First, we will continue creating new books.  With this funding we will be able to finish the earth science series.  We have books on deserts, freshwater and the cycles of earth in the advanced planning stages. 

Parched Planet - The Desert Biome coming soon.
Parched Planet - The Desert Biome coming soon.

We will also use the funds to create a new subscription version of the books. Rather than owning separate copies of each app on their devices, users will be able to gain access to ALL of the books from within a single app.  

This will save a significant amount of memory and will make it far easier for users to browse and download specific titles.  This will also streamline the support process and make it much easier for us to eventually port the books to Android and Windows devices.

We will also be using a portion of these funds to properly market Crack the Books.  We need to create a new website dedicated to Crack the Books as well as implement a comprehensive marketing plan.  We have been working with a top firm that specializes in education.  We have the marketing plan in place; we only need to turn it on.

Where Do We Go From Here?

We have invested every dollar we have (including quite a few we don't have) getting Crack the Books where it is today. Your support will help ensure that these books continue to become available to help our kids. But this kickstarter campaign is just the beginning.  

Once the earth, social and physical science books for elementary students are complete, we plan on taking this same book engine and applying it to high school books.  Rather than ranging from 1st to 8th grade, these books will range from 5th grade to college level reading, giving parents and teachers of high school students the same flexibility offered to elementary parents and teachers.  On top of the social studies and science topics we cover in the elementary series, we also envision including classic literature in our suite of high schooler books. 

We have bootstrapped these books on our own nickel, and we are committed to continue developing more books based on the great feedback from teachers, therapists and parents. With this kickstarter funding, and our already existing team, we are confident we will be able to make Crack the Books a long term success. Our hope is to produce dozens, if not hundreds, of these adjustable, interactive, high interest books that will reel in the avid reader and the reluctant reader alike. 

Kids are naturally curious about the world around them. With your help, we can create a new generation of books that can reach and inspire all of our kids.

Risks and challenges

The books you see here are currently shipping on iTunes. We have been testing the books for over a year now and the code base is very stable. We are now in the process of laying out our bookshelf version of Crack the Books and prioritizing all the back-end work that is required. Once our funding campaign is complete, we will bring on additional resources to speed up the development process.

While the work that is required to bring the subscription service to life is fairly straightforward compared to the work that has been already completed, there are always unanticipated challenges. Fortunately, we have designed these books knowing that we would eventually migrate to a bookshelf type of program.

Our platform only requires a user interface and back-end integration to be a success. In addition, we have a talented and experienced team that has completed projects of this type in the past. We are confident that there will not be any challenges that we can't overcome.

Moving successfully from individual book downloads to a subscription service is all in the details. During this development, we will be busy creating new books and bonus content that will be launched with the subscription service. We are committed to ensuring our books maintain the high quality and engagement factor that our customers have come to expect from us.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    A special shoutout and thank you in our newsletter! Plus we'll keep you up to date on the development process as Crack the Books science books are released.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Get a promo code for our award-winning TenseBuilder speech therapy app! Plus we'll keep you up to date on the development process as Crack the Books science books are released.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Get The Book --- PINES to VINES. See what everyone is talking about. Have your child explore earth's forests in Pines to Vines - The Forest Biome. This iPad compatible book covers a variety of topics including forest layers, range and climate of forest biomes, plant and animal wildlife, adaptations, benefits of forests, and forest threats.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Get The Book --- BLADES. See what everyone is talking about. Watch your child roll down a hill in Blades - The Grassland Biome. This iPad compatible book covers a variety of topics including range and climate of grassland biomes, plant and animal wildlife, adaptations, benefits of grasslands, threats, and grassland sustainability.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Get The Book --- SEASHORES TO SEA FLOORS. See what everyone is talking about. Explore the ocean deep in Seashores to Sea Floors - The Ocean Biome. This iPad compatible book covers a variety of topics including ocean layers, the deep sea, coastlines, plant and animal wildlife, adaptations, benefits of oceans, and ocean threats.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Get Two Books plus a one-year subscription to Crack the Books --- Receive both our Pines to Vines and Seashores to Sea Floors iPad compatible books.

    For one year, you will also have access to ALL the iPad compatible books, regardless of how many we release. On top of the books already available, we plan to finish out the earth science series with books on deserts, freshwater and the cycles of earth. Future books will cover social studies and the physical sciences, including books on famous explorers, US and world history, US and state government, geology, weather, the solar system, the human body, physics, and chemistry. The subscription service will be ready in October 2014.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Get Three Books plus a one-year subscription to Crack the Books --- Your child wants to learn more about earth? Receive all three of our already released iPad compatible books about forests, oceans and grasslands. For one year, you will also have access to ALL the iPad compatible books, regardless of how many we release. The subscription service will be ready in October 2014.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Get Three Books plus a two-year subscription to Crack the Books --- Give the gift of knowledge. Share our iPad compatible Crack the Books with a child and help them fall in love with reading and learning!! The subscription service will be ready in October 2014.

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    Get Three Books plus a two-year subscription to Crack the Books plus T-Shirt --- Receive a one-year subscription to our iPad compatible Crack the Books plus a Crack the Books limited edition T-shirt that reads, "I've Cracked A Book Today," available in kid and adult sizes! The subscription service will be ready in October 2014.

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Get Three Books plus two separate two-year subscriptions to Crack the Books --- Give the gift of knowledge. Share our iPad compatible Crack The Books with two children and help them fall in love with reading and learning!! The subscription service will be ready in October 2014.

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    Get Three Books plus three separate two-year subscriptions to Crack the Books --- Give the gift of knowledge. Share our iPad compatible Crack The Books with three children and help them fall in love with reading and learning!! The subscription service will be ready in October 2014.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Get Three Books plus five separate two-year subscriptions to Crack the Books --- Give the gift of knowledge. Share our iPad compatible Crack The Books with five children and help them fall in love with reading and learning!! The subscription service will be ready in October 2014.

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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Book of your choice customized for your child! --- Choose one of our already released iPad compatible books and we will create a customized introductory voice over to introduce the book to your child by name!

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    Pledge $3,000 or more About $3,000

    Book of your choice customized with personalized introductory animation!! --- Choose one of our already released iPad compatible books and we will create a movie quality animation that plays on launch. Your child can pick the character they want, we'll create the storyboard, and once you're happy with it, we'll commission the animation to be created.

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    Speaking Engagement --- Kyle will come speak at your next big event, whether it's a school function, book club or corporate retreat. You will receive 25 copies of any of our already released iPad compatible books, PINES TO VINES, BLADES or SEASHORES TO SEA FLOORS. Plus you'll get to hear Kyle's story first hand and learn about the inspiration that led to Crack the Books.

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Funding period

- (30 days)