Happy Birthday, Reading Rainbow – 31 years old today, June 6, 2014!!
Reading Rainbow is a library of over 200 books and videos for kids ages 3 – 9. This educational app is FREE to download but requires a subscription ($9.99 per month or $29.99 for 6 months) for full access. Once you subscribe, your children (up to 5 per family) will have unlimited access to the interactive books and video trips. This app is similar to the award-winning Reading Rainbow television series that was on PBS from 1983 – 2006. It even features the same host – Grammy winner, LeVar Burton. In less than a year, over 2.5 million books/video field trips have been viewed with this app!
After installing the app, kids fill out their profile (name, age, kinds of stories they like to read) and may choose one free book from one of the 6 themed island in the sky. The books are professionally read and feature “Read to Me” or “Read on My Own” options. They are lightly animated and include interactive activities that add to the story. A sticker rewards program motivates kids to read. There is also an individualized tracking system so parents can see books selected and minutes read for each child.
I must admit, I downloaded this app because of nostalgia. My kids grew up watching Reading Rainbow and we all loved it.I am happy to say that the appeal of Reading Rainbow today is the same as it was almost 30 years ago – Reading Rainbow provides kids with quality authentic literature. If I had a child/ grandchild (ages 3-9) or if I were still in the classroom, I would subscribe without hesitation. What a fabulous resource!