Reading App Builder is developed by SIL International and is free to use by language communities around the world.
The challenge to build this tool came from a meeting of partner organisations working across the Sahel region of Africa. With the increase in smartphone availability, they saw the need for a simple app which could be customized for local contexts and which could be distributed without the need for Internet access. To facilitate literacy in local languages, there was the desire for the app to integrate text and audio, highlighting each phrase as it is read.
Development began in January 2014, with most of the work carried out by SIL in Mali, West Africa. Rather than a single app, the result was an App Builder which can be used to create any number of apps. It has become an international effort: key modules have been written in Thailand and the United States, technical support is provided from Ghana and the US, and beta-testing has been carried out across the world. The first public release was in April 2016.
SIL International is a faith-based nonprofit organization committed to serving language communities worldwide as they build capacity for sustainable language development. SIL does this primarily through research, translation, training and materials development. SIL works alongside ethnolinguistic communities and their partners as they discover how language development addresses the challenging areas of their daily lives—social, cultural, political, economic and spiritual.
SIL Language Technology supports these activities by developing software, fonts and keyboards. To find out more about our work follow the links at the bottom of this page.