First Steps to Learning For the first time the app runs, the video of Burton describes what the goals of the app are and how kids can use and benefit from it. Basically, the video is aimed for the parents, and while everyone wants to skip it, they can’t. The only thing they can do is to fast-forward through it.
After the infomercial, kids are encouraged to create their own profiles to continue using Reading Rainbow. They will then be brought to an interactive tutorial to equip them with basic knowledge about the user interface. For parents, it seems frustrating to go through all the things that they already know, but for children who will be using the app, the anticipation is a good thing; it makes them get interested even more.
All the books are categorized and each category is represented by a floating island which is well-represented by distinct and easy-to-remember pictures. This empowers non-readers to distinguish the category they are looking for just by looking at the islands. There are only four islands and they are as follows;
- Animal Kingdom
- Action Adventures & Magical Tales
- Genius Academy
- My Friends Family
Once kids select an island, a book shelf-like interface comes into play and, of course, it is full of books. If a certain book is selected, the user interface turns into something like an old book but with really nice visuals. However, kids have to confirm the books they choose. For children who know how to read already, choosing between Yes and No is an easy part, pre-reading children may find it annoying, though.
Wide Array of Books
The developer of the app signed contracts with different publishers of children’s books like Kane Press, Peachtree Publisher, Sleeping Bear Press, etc. This means that there aren’t just any books children can read but the top ones. Kids are given options to read a book by themselves or have a voice read it to them. There are male and female voices which match with the gender of the user.
Literally, there are tons of books children could enjoy reading while using this app. As they continue playing with Reading Rainbow, their comprehension increases and pre-readers may be able to read their first few words after days of playing with the app. Basically, there are no limits for learning but parents are also advised to moderate their children’s use of the app and iPad to help them grow in other aspects.
To encourage them to continue reading books, they are awarded with a star once they can complete one volume, although they already have four stars once they start using Reading Rainbow. But this is actually one way of boosting their self-confidence knowing they are being awarded and appreciated by doing good things such as reading.
In a nutshell
Reading Rainbow for iPad is not a perfect app, there could be bugs which will soon be discovered. But as far as education and learning are concerned for children who are still starting to read, this is the best in its class. It is a reboot of that classic children TV show and nothing was changed except that it is now targeting modern children with new high-tech toys to help them learn. If I were to rate it, this app deserves 4.5 / 5 score.