2019/07/24

Huawei strengthens commitment to deaf children with release of two new books for Huawei StorySign

London, UK – 24th July 2019 – Huawei, the global technology leader, today announced the release of two new books in the StorySign app in the UK. StorySign uses the power of Huawei’s AI to create an authentic reading experience, translating popular children’s books into sign language helping to open the world of books to deaf children and their families.

The new books are just one part of Huawei’s ongoing commitment to using its technology to open up the world of books to deaf children and their families. The announcement follows Huawei’s pledge to continue investing in StorySign by further expanding its library in 2019 and by donating $500K to its partnership with the European Union of the Deaf earlier this year to fund deaf literacy projects. The new books, including, Max the Brave and All About Spot are part of an exciting new range of titles that will be added to the StorySign library this year.

Walter Ji, President of Huawei’s Western Europe Consumer Business Group, said: “At Huawei, we always put people first, and we are always looking for new ways to use our technology to make the world a better place. We are committed to making sure every child has the chance to enjoy story time, and we will continue to work with our StorySign partners to expand our library and raise awareness of the challenges deaf children face when learning to read.”

Mark Wheatley, Executive Director of the European Union of the Deaf, said: “With StorySign, Huawei is using the power of AI to transform the lives of deaf children and make a genuine contribution to families in Europe. Deaf children are unable to read in the same manner as hearing children, so the launch of 52 new avatar-signed books means more story time and more opportunities for them to learn to read.”

Reading is an important developmental skill that many deaf children in the UK are missing out on compared to hearing children, who are most likely to develop their imagination (73%), knowledge (62%) and communication skills (61%) through reading. According to recent research2 from Huawei, many deaf children struggle to learn how to read, often due to a lack of resources bridging sign language and reading, and the fact that 43% of parents of deaf children in the UK either aren’t able to sign or only know a limited amount of sign language.

In addition, parents of deaf children in the UK also spend more time reading to their children each day than parents of hearing children – an average of 43 minutes compared to 31 minutes – yet statistics indicate that they are falling behind their hearing peers with most deaf 16-year olds having an average reading age of nine years. Pioneered by Huawei and developed with experts from leading charities across the deaf community, the StorySign app was first launched in December 2018 to help enrich story time for deaf children and their parents. At launch, Huawei set out to raise awareness of deaf literacy and shine a light on how many children struggle to learn to read, due to the lack of resources which bridge the gap between sign language and reading.

All new books will once again come alive with Star, the app’s child-friendly avatar developed in partnership with world-class studio Aardman Animations, alongside input from experts in the deaf community. Star translates a range of classic and contemporary children’s stories into sign language in real-time, creating a seamless reading experience, allowing deaf children to foster deep connections with their families.

StorySign can be downloaded for free from the Google Play Store and the Huawei AppGallery in eleven countries across Western Europe and Australia.

For more information on how to get involved, please visit http://www.storysign.com