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New Sesame Street App, Big Bird’s Words, Uses Augmented Reality to Help Children Build Vocabulary

NEW YORK, NY, November 21, 2013—Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, has launched Big Bird’s Words, a new app where children are guided to search for and find new words in their environment, making vocabulary building a fun and interactive experience. Big Bird’s ‘Word-o-Scope’ enables children to use a smartphone as a digital eye into their real-world environments to find, identify, and learn about words, bringing a deeper understanding of what these words mean by exposing children to them in familiar contexts.

Children will be thrilled not only to hear the voice of their favorite feathered friend in Big Bird’s Words, but they’ll also be exploring healthy food words such as “milk” and “orange” with the furry blue Cookie Monster. The app recognizes 1,500 words, and verbally recognizes 500 of those by name.

Sesame Workshop researched the impact of the app on measurable learning outcomes and among the findings was that preschoolers who were exposed to Big Bird’s Words had a 40% increase in their ability to identify the target words.1

“Big Bird’s Words helps children develop a deeper understanding and context for the words in their environment,” said Scott Chambers, Senior Vice President, Worldwide Media Distribution at Sesame Workshop.  “Innovative digital experiences, like augmented reality, can help support and enhance learning for children.”

Big Bird’s Words is the first Sesame Street app built using Qualcomm® Vuforia™’s real-time text recognition capability using a smartphone’s camera.  The app will be available on iOS and Android for 99¢.  Qualcomm Vuforia is a product of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, and the Vuforia SDK is a product of Qualcomm Austria Research Center GmbH, a subsidiary of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.

Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, the landmark television program that reaches millions of children every day in more than 150 countries. The Workshop’s mission is to use the educational power of media to help children everywhere reach their highest potential. Delivered through a variety of platforms, Sesame Workshop develops research-based content – including television programs, books, games, mobile apps and community engagement initiatives – that supports early childhood learning, helps prepare children for school, and addresses developmental needs. The Workshop’s programs are tailored to the needs of specific regions and focus on topics that help young children and families develop critical skills for lifelong learning. For more information, visit us at

Qualcomm is a trademark of Qualcomm Incorporated, registered in the U.S. and other countries. Vuforia is a trademark of Qualcomm Incorporated. All Qualcomm Incorporated trademarks are used with permission. Other products or brand names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

Beatrice Chow
(212) 875-6586

 1Brooks, M.K & Moon, M. (2013). Children’s learning from mobile devices. The case of Big Birds Words. Unpublished presentation, Sesame Workshop.

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