Kingston University has enlisted the help of a leading children's author to bring classroom lessons to life.
Anthony Browne, who writes and illustrates picture books, has teamed up with the university's School of Education to work on its Books Alive! multimedia project.
The project aims to develop web-based talking books combining traditional words and pictures with sound and animation.
The Books Alive! team believes the results will significantly boost children's reading skills.
"Traditional picture books are often perceived as only being appropriate for young children," project leader Ruth Wood said.
"We plan to move picture books into a new dimension and make them a rich and enjoyable learning tool."
Talking books developed with Mr Browne's support are currently being tested in schools in Kingston and the surrounding area.
The author of such favourites as Voices in the Park, Mr Browne hopes the combination of his ideas and the use of cutting edge technology will prove a recipe for success.
"I am delighted to be taking part in such an exciting and innovative project," he said.
The team is seeking further funding and hopes to officially launch the talking books in March 2004.
As well as the benefits for pupils, there are also advantages for teachers participating in the project.
From September, they will have the opportunity to gain a Kingston University Master's Degree in Education.