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Random House Children’s Books releases Elmo’s Big Birthday Bash — A Step into Reading App for iPad

The First App in Partnership with Sesame Workshop and the First in a Line of Step into Reading™ Apps

(April 25, 2012, New York, NY)—Random House Children’s Books (www.randomhouse.com/kids) announced today that Elmo’s Big Birthday Bash!—A Step into Reading™ App for iPad® is now available on the App Store. This 30+ page interactive story is designed to help children practice early reading skills and includes helpful reading tools for parents and three literacy games. The app features narration by Bob McGrath (“Bob”), a fixture on Sesame Street® for more than 40 years.

Elmo’s Big Birthday Bash!—A Step into Reading App is the first app developed as part of Random House Children’s Books and Sesame Workshop’s joint digital publishing program. The program launched earlier this year with the release of several Step into Reading™ Sesame Street® ebooks. Elmo’s Big Birthday Bash! is a brand-new interactive story and also the first Step into Reading™ app developed by Random House Children’s Books with Smashing Ideas. The Step into Reading program is designed to give every child a successful reading experience. Children can progress through the steps at their own speed, developing confidence in their reading, no matter what their age.

Sesame Workshop’s Jennifer A. Perry, Vice President, Worldwide Publishing, comments, “Step into Reading books are part of every beginning reader’s library. We are thrilled to have an original Sesame Street story be the first app tie-in to this renowned series. Based on testing with preschoolers, Elmo’s Big Birthday Bash! was designed to integrate a read-aloud story with fundamental early reading skills to help start young readers on the road to a lifelong love of reading.”

Conceived as a tool to aid beginning readers, Elmo’s Big Birthday Bash!—A Step into Reading™ App contains helpful hints and ideas for parents to help make reading fun from the education experts at Sesame Workshop and Random House Children’s Books. The app is equipped with rich reading tools throughout; children can tap on any word in the story to hear it read aloud and hear definitions and fun questions for select vocabulary words. Supplemental activities featured in the app include three hands-on games with Elmo, which allow children to practice upper and lowercase letters, learn letter sounds, and match rhyming words—skills that are building blocks for strong readers.

Users will have the option of experiencing the story in three different ways. The first option enables users to watch and listen as words are highlighted while the text is read aloud and pages turn automatically. The second option allows users to turn off the narration and read at their own pace (with individual words spoken with the tap of a finger), and the third option allows readers to record their own voice to play on each page.

The Elmo’s Big Birthday Bash!—A Step into Reading™ App is available for $3.99 from the App Store on iPad® or atwww.iTunes.com/AppStore.

Learn more about Random House Children’s Books apps at www.RHKidsApps.com.

Random House Children’s Books is the world’s largest English-language children’s trade book publisher. Creating books for toddlers through young adult readers, in all formats from board books to activity books to picture books, novels, ebooks, and apps, the imprints of Random House Children’s Books bring together award-winning authors and illustrators, world-famous franchise characters, and multimillion-copy series. The company’s website, Kids @ Random (www.RandomHouse.com/kids) offers an array of activities, games and resources for children, teens, parents, and educators. Random House Children’s Books is a division of Random House, Inc., whose parent company is Bertelsmann AG, a leading international media company.

Sesame Workshop (www.SesameWorkshop.org) is the nonprofit educational organization that revolutionized children’s television programming with the landmark Sesame Street. The Workshop produces local Sesame Streetprograms, seen in over 150 countries, and other acclaimed shows including The Electric Company, to help bridge the literacy gap. Beyond television, the Workshop produces content for multiple media platforms on a wide range of issues including literacy, health, and military deployment. Initiatives meet specific needs to help young children and families develop critical skills, acquire healthy habits and build emotional strength to prepare them for lifelong learning.

Smashing Ideas (www.SmashingIdeas.com), founded in 1996, has become one of the leading digital media agencies by creating immersive, interactive content that that engages users and generates meaningful results.  Cartoon Network, Disney, GE, Mattel, Microsoft, Nickelodeon, Sony, Verizon Wireless, and more have called upon the company to develop engaging, online, and mobile experiences for their audiences. Smashing Ideas is based in Seattle, with offices in the U.K.

Contact:

Casey Lloyd
Random House Children’s Books
(212) 782-9043
clloyd@randomhouse.com

Jodi Lefkowitz
Sesame Workshop
(212) 875-6497
Jodi.Lefkowitz@sesame.org

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