This morning at the first ever Google for South Africa event, Google announced the availability of Bolo.

Bolo is an app that is designed to improve the reading skills of primary school learners. The app is designed in such a way that it encourages learners to read out loud, and that’s where the magic of Bolo can be seen.

The app listens to the learner and should it detect that the learner has hit a word they don’t recognise or can’t say, it teaches them the word.

What’s more is that the app works completely offline and no data is sent to Google. If you still aren’t sold, no advertising is present in the app either.

All voice processing takes place on the device and Google tells us that because of this there is no need for Bolo to transfer data to Google.

Bolo does have a number of features which have been gamified such as rewards for reaching a certain reading level. Users can also check their progress with the built in report card.

The app was originally launched in India and Google is working with the Global Book Alliance to bring more books to Bolo.

As for Africa, African Storybook and Book Dash will be working with Google to bring African stories to Bolo.

The Bolo app is free to download and is available for Android smartphones right now. Unfortunately for iOS users there is no iOS app as of time of writing.