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Jakks to use TV screen for reading

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Dec. 6--MALIBU -- To get kids into reading, Jakks Pacific Inc. will try to get them to watch more television.

The toy maker has found significant sales success with its TV games consoles, adapting popular children's characters into video games that plug directly into televisions. Now, it's adapting the technology to make interactive books that appear on TV screens.

The company said Monday that it has forged a licensing deal with Scholastic Media to add its preschool titles "Clifford The Big Red Dog" and "I-SPY" to the Tell-A-Story line. After plugging the consoles into televisions, children can either read the stories aloud themselves or have the console read it to them, with interactive animation elements interspersed throughout the story line.

"We really saw the need out there for a fun and educational book," said Anson Sowby, director of marketing for Jakks. "A lot of parents told us they loved educational products, but at the end of the day, they were loving it a lot more than their kids did. This is an attempt to foster a love for learning by the kids, too."

The systems will begin selling in mass retailers, toy stores and book shops in August, with a price of $29.99 for the console and between $9.99 and $14.99 for the books.

"There's still value to a paper book and for one child, that might be the ultimate learning experience," said Cheryl Gotthelf, vice president of brand marketing and television broadcast relations for Scholastic. "For another, they might not sit still until the end, but they could tap into a whole new way of learning with this."


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