Updated Jun 02, 2020

Paul Frank

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Let's grow a library! The free Bloom easy book creation software is the only tool available for creating linguistically-correct decodable and leveled reading materials. Bloom enables local experts in all language communities to grow libraries. The Bloom Library now offers a growing collection of COVID-19 books available to be adapted and translated into new languages. https://bloomlibrary.org/COVID19

Bloom is a free software package that makes it easy for speakers of any language to create books, or to translate existing books into their language. Rather than having to depend on technicians from outside their community or undergo extensive training, speakers of local languages can quickly learn to use Bloom to create literature that they want their children to read. Bloom is the only tool a...
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Bloom is a free software package that makes it easy for speakers of any language to create books, or to translate existing books into their language. Rather than having to depend on technicians from outside their community or undergo extensive training, speakers of local languages can quickly learn to use Bloom to create literature that they want their children to read. Bloom is the only tool available for creating pedagogically and linguistically-correct decodable and leveled reading materials. The tool is easy to use by people with limited experience with technology and is an offline tool, thus making a live Internet connection unnecessary. It supports any of the world’s 7,000+ languages, in any script. Bloom supports authoring of new books, translating existing books, and creating new versions of more than 6,000 titles in nearly 300 languages available on the free online Bloom library. Tools for adding audio and video make Bloom an all-in-one tool to create born-accessible books for visually impaired and Deaf readers, making it much easier to create inclusive materials in any language. There is a new section of the Bloom Library dedicated to COVID-19, with over 118 titles in 95 languages. Our goal is to double this amount in the coming weeks to better support local language communities with access to these important health and safety messages. Fighting the coronavirus requires knowledge, and that knowledge has to be acquired in a language that the learner understands.
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Education
  

Stage 5: Scaling

SIL LEAD first introduced Bloom in 2012 in a USAID education project in 12 Ugandan languages. Since then, Bloom has grown to reach readers in nearly 300 languages, with over 6000 books in the Bloom Library that can be adapted or translated. Bloom was the winner of the All Children Reading (ACR) Enabling Writers Competition in 2015. In addition, SIL LEAD was the winner of the ACR Book Boost: Access for All Challenge in 2018, which supported the development of accessible books using Bloom, including sign language software. In 2020, SIL LEAD was awarded an ACR grand challenge prize for the Begin with Books Competition, where Bloom software will be used to create over 400 books in Malian local languages, including Malian Sign Language. All titles will be adapted or created to capitalize on the software’s decodable, leveled, accessible and sign language tools. SIL LEAD is the premier Bloom service provider and has provided Bloom workshops in the Americas, Africa, and Asia. Many organizations and governments are starting to use Bloom.
Registered in United States as Non-Profitin United States as Non-Profit

Focus Areas:

Basic Education, Literacy, Digital Development and 3 MoreSEE ALL

Basic Education, Literacy, Digital Development, Inclusive Education, Crowdsourcing and Open Source and InclusionSEE LESS

Implemented In:

Papua New Guinea, Uganda, Ethiopia and 14 MoreSEE ALL

Papua New Guinea, Uganda, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Haiti, Philippines, Nigeria, Nepal, Mozambique, Indonesia, Guatemala, Rwanda, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Senegal, Ghana and MadagascarSEE LESS

17
Countries Implemented In
30,000
Customers
8
Employees
$1,000,000
Funds Raised to Date
Verified Funding
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Problem

357 million primary school-aged children do not possess basic reading skills, and many of these children are not learning to read because there are no books in a language they speak and understand. Without reading materials in their first language, it will be much harder or impossible for these children to learn to read. In low- and middle-income countries, there is also an inadequate supply of titles. Not only are there not enough physical books, but not enough authors and publishers are producing stories in languages children use and understand. Studies have demonstrated the importance of high quality reading materials in supporting learning, particularly when in the local language students understand. But despite their importance, local language books are absent or in short supply in too many communities and classrooms around the world.

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Solution

Bloom enables local experts in all language communities to grow libraries. Speakers of local languages with little to no computer literacy can use Bloom to create literature in their own languages that they want their children to read. The free Bloom book creation software is the only tool available for creating linguistically-correct decodable and leveled reading materials. The tool is easy to use by people with limited experience with technology and is an offline tool, thus making a live Internet connection unnecessary. They can use Bloom templates or "Shell books" posted online on the Bloom Library. Bloom facilitates the creation of books in a single language or in two or three languages, and exports titles as PDFs, ePUBs, or for use with the free Android Bloom Reader App. Tools for adding audio and video support visually impaired and Deaf readers. Users can upload their books to the Library for others to access and/or download books to adapt into their own language. There are extensive Bloom training materials, including end user and Training of Trainers curricula and a process for certifying Bloom trainers.

Target Beneficiaries

Bloom’s primary direct beneficiaries are the children and adults who get access to learning and reading materials in a language they understand well. The community members who engage in materials development benefit as well, as they learn how to provide equitable education solutions to their communities and country. Indirectly, everyone benefits from higher literacy rates in all sectors of a society. Bloom has responded to the COVID-19 crisis by creating a growing collection of COVID-19 books, ready to be adapted and translated to support local language communities who need to share important health information.

Mission and Vision

The vision for Bloom is that every child will have sufficient appropriate reading materials in their own languages to open up the joy and power of reading. The mission is to dramatically lower the technology bar so that many more people can get involved in developing a large number of local language books. Simplicity for the user is combined with power for creating books in any language that are linguistically and pedagogically correct and can also serve those with print disabilities, and enhanced capabilities using sign language.

Competitive Advantage

Bloom is free, supports any language, allows the creation of new books or translation of existing ones, can be configured to create linguistically and pedagogically appropriate books, and enables the creation of inclusive literature for the Deaf and visually impaired. No other software has this combination of capabilities. The tool is easy to use by people with limited experience with technology. It supports any of the world’s 7,000+ languages, in any script. Bloom supports authoring of new books, translating existing books, and creating new versions of more than 6,000 titles in nearly 300 languages available on the free online Bloom library. Most books have Creative Commons licenses allowing adaptation and re-use. Bloom is the only program with tools for creating decodable and leveled books tailored to specific languages. Tools for adding audio and video make Bloom has a unique combination of tools to create born-accessible books for visually impaired and Deaf readers. Bloom trainings can be provided in English, French, or Spanish and in over 12 other languages. 31 free training videos have optional subtitles in over 8 languages, and the Bloom interface is available in over 20 languages.

Planned Goals and Milestones

As of May 2020, our COVID-19 Bloom Library has over 115 books in 95 languages. Our goal is to develop as many COVID-19 related books in as many languages as possible, to support local language communities with access to these important health and safety messages. We hope to double the amount of books in the coming weeks and reach many more languages.
Funding Goal500,000
Projected Cumulative Lives Impacted4,500,000
New Implemented CountriesMali
Recruit22 certified trainers; 5 software developers; 5 service staff
New FeatureBloom Library COVID-19 Book Collection; Upgrade accessible book and sign language tools; improve website functions and architecture to make it cross-platform

The Team Behind the Innovation

The Bloom software team is composed of seven people who maintain and develop the software and website. There are 20 Certified Bloom Trainers with that number increasing steadily. Two people manage and provide services to clients. The technical lead is John Hatton, a senior software developer with 26 years of experience in software engineering. The administrative lead is Paul Frank, with a PhD in linguistics and 38 years in applied linguistics research and management of development programs.

Milestone

Apr 2020
Recognition ReceivedPENDING
Mar 2020
New Product Or Service
Comic Book Tool for Bloom Books
Jun 2013
New Country Implemented In
Uganda
Jun 2012
New Country Implemented In
Papua New Guinea
Jun 2012
Created