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Network operator Odido publishes a free phone-shaped book for kids

Recognizing the declining reading habits among older elementary school children, who are increasingly glued to their smartphones, Dutch network operator Odido has launched a creative initiative to reignite their interest in books. In collaboration with renowned children's author Marjon Hoffman, Odido released Het Telefoonboekje, or The Phone Booklet — a children's book designed to resemble a smartphone, with a story unfolding through WhatsApp-style conversations.

By presenting the narrative in a format familiar to kids, Odido aims to bridge the gap between their digital inclinations and the tactile and immersive experience of reading longer-form texts on paper. Elementary school teachers can order copies free of charge. Within 24 hours of launching the campaign, Odido ran out of the first printing and ordered an additional 30,000 copies.

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Screen time among children has skyrocketed at the expense of activities like reading and spending time outdoors. And the surge partially takes place during their elementary school years. Research in the Netherlands found that 68% of seven-year-olds read books nearly every day in their spare time. By the age of 12, that number has dropped by half, to 35%.

Odido's little phone book acknowledges the ubiquity of smartphones in the lives of preteens and attempts to leverage this familiarity to rekindle their enthusiasm for books. As parents and educators grapple with the challenges of managing screen time and building literacy, how could your brand similarly meet children where they are, while helping to strike a balance between technology and other forms of learning and entertainment?

Related: For young adults unaccustomed to unplugging, Hinge publishes a phone book filled with free ideas