June 13, 2024


The World Literacy Foundation and Dutch marketing firm Media.Monks have teamed up to create a pen designed to help millions of people around the world grappling with illiteracy.  

The device, dubbed Literacy Pen, is compatible with any standard pen or pencil. Users slip the device onto the pen and then speak their desired words into the built-in microphone.

Voice dictation technology then transcribes these words, letter by letter, onto a digital screen built-in to the device. The user can then copy the words they see onto paper all using the one pen.

“The device ensures an effective learning experience by focusing on key aspects of literacy development, such as written and visual repetition,” said its makers.  

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Its small size is designed to make it accessible for users of all ages and abilities.  

While text-to-speech pens — which use optical character recognition (OCR) technology to read aloud printed text — are quite common, speech-to-text pens are not.  

According to the Finnish Reading Center, an NGO which promotes reading and literacy, one in seven adults worldwide are illiterate. This can stem from a number of factors such as poor access to education, poverty, and language disorders.

The repercussions are profound. Illiteracy makes it much harder for individuals to get employed. In many cases, it perpetuates cycles of poverty. 

If the literacy pen can be rolled out en masse to the places that need it most, I can only imagine its impact on people’s lives. 

We’ve reached out to the creators and will update this story if/when we receive a response. 



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