April 25th, 2019
National Tell a Story Day is coming up this weekend (April 27th), and my day is already completely booked with plans to curl up on the couch and read with my kids. The Google Assistant is also getting in on the literary action: starting today, Tell Me a Story is available in English on your Android or iOS phone in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia and India.
Whether you’re on the way to school drop-off or waiting for soccer practice to start, you can hear stories like “Let’s Be Firefighters!” (Blaze and the Monster Machines), “Robot Rampage” (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) and more. To get started, just say, “Hey Google, tell me a story.” If you’re trying to get the kids ready for bed after a long day, try, “Hey Google, tell me a bedtime story.” You’ll need to have the latest version of Google Play Books for Android or iOS installed to listen to all of these great stories.
Families in the U.S. can also make storytime a little more magical with a feature called read along, available on Google Home smart speakers (Home, Mini, Max and Hub). The Assistant brings stories to life with sound effects as you read select Disney Little Golden Books aloud, like “Coco,” “The Three Little Pigs,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “Cinderella,” “Peter Pan,” and “Toy Story 3”—my daughter’s personal favorite. To try it out, just grab one of the compatible books and say, “Hey Google, let’s read along” and the Assistant will ask you which book you’d like to read. Another great reading option is “Ara the Star Engineer”: Authored by my colleague Komal Singh, the book inspires young children to explore the magic of STEM by highlighting themes like courage, creativity, coding and collaboration. Just say “Hey Google, read along with Ara the Star Engineer.” With their parent’s permission, children under 13 can also have their own personalized Google Assistant experience when they log in with their own account, powered by Family Link.
And if you’re looking for more ways to get your family excited about reading together, consider asking your Assistant to read an audiobook on Google Play. Just make sure to log into your Google Play Books account and say, “Hey Google, read Charlotte’s Web,” or any audiobook title, and you’ll hear a free sample if you don’t already own the audiobook. Ready to start listening? Check out some family favorites available for download:
- “Charlotte’s Web” by E. B. White
- “The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom” by Christopher Healy
- “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss
- “The Collected Stories of Winnie-the-Pooh” by A.A. Milne
- “Penny and Her Marble” by Kevin Henkes
Audiobooks are available on the Assistant in English in the U.S., Australia, Canada and Great Britain, in addition to German and Japanese. You can pause, resume or skip forward or backward in your audiobook just by using your voice. Test it out by saying, “Hey Google, read my book,” to resume your place, or ask, “Hey Google, skip to the next chapter.”
No matter where or how you or your kids choose to read or listen to a book, the Google Assistant can help out at storytime.