The company will check the app in the UK. In the coming months, Duolingo will release a new version with a different audience in mind: kids as young as four. It will be renamed Duolingo ABC, and Wired UK has been advised by the organization that it will first focus on teaching children to read or write in their native language.
The ultimate goal of the organization, however, is to produce an adult version to support the hundreds of millions of people who are unable to read around the world. Currently, Duolingo will first roll out ABC as a trial in the UK before making it available in the US and around the world.
Company founder Luis Von Ahn told the publication that there is "great demand worldwide, and mostly in developing countries, but analphabetism is a concern even in the UK."
He added: "We can make a real dent in this market." And Duolingo can hit potential users in developing countries due to the availability of low-cost smartphones. More likely, the lack of stable access to WiFi and cellular services would impede its use in remote regions.
Duolingo ABC will start by teaching children to identify letters, then words, and then sentences before progressing to paragraphs. Von Ahn says the company has been collaborating with reading experts to evaluate the various learning methods it will use, such as focusing on individual words sounds and the interaction between written characters and spoken sounds.
The software was also developed to expand and develop the comprehension of the child's vocabulary and literacy. ABC will, of course, also feature game features such as the key Duolingo app. The gamification element is likely to be crucial to keeping kids engaged — after all, it's already inspiring adults to launch the main Duolingo game and learn new languages.