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Clever Noodle and Jeff Koons Unveil Phonics-Based game


Clever Noodle, a nonprofit startup known for crafting educational children’s games, has unveiled its latest release in partnership with artist Jeff Koons. The innovative phonics-based game titled Popped! marks a significant stride in merging art and education to cultivate literacy.

Designed to transform the task of learning to read into an immersive adventure, Popped! features Koons’s Balloon Dog as its visual centerpiece. Developed in tandem with national literacy experts, the game endeavors to equip children with vital reading skills while nurturing an appreciation for both learning and art.

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NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 24:  Artist Jeff Koons poses for a portrait for the media in front of his work

In a press release, Clever Noodle’s founder and chief executive Jacquelyn Davis, said the game’s mission was to alleviate the perceived “burden” of learning to read, ensuring an experience that is as enjoyable for children as it is for parents. Popped!, which teaches children to read using  Consonant-Vowel-Consonant (CVC) word patterns, “is firmly grounded in the science of reading, employing an evidence-based approach that delves into the intricate mechanisms of children’s cognitive processes related to literacy,” Davis said.

Koons and Davis met in the late 1990s when the Clever Noodle founder was working as a chief of staff for a member of Congress. Together, they worked on a children’s rights project focused on missing and exploited children. It’s through Davis that Koons began working with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, a cause Koons has espoused for decades.

“I really believe in the importance of literacy,” Koons told ARTnews in a telephone interview. “Working with Jacquelyn on this game has been such a wonderful opportunity to bring not only the power of art, but also a sense of excitement, optimism and fun to reading.”

The card-based game is set to debut April 30 for purchase exclusively on Clever Noodle’s website, with availability on Amazon slated for May 14. Early adopters will enjoy a 10 percent discount during the initial 24-hour launch window. Additionally, 10 copies of the signed games (numbers 16-25) will launch tomorrow for $1,000 each, first come, first served. 



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