Amazon Rapids

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
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Library of accessible text message-style stories.

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

The simple style and short length may help kids who aren't strong readers get into reading. Varied topics can easily stretch kids' imaginations and get them thinking. The glossary can also help kids learn new vocabulary words.

Ease of Play

Navigation through the stories and settings is sleek and easy.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Amazon Rapids is a subscription-based service that gives kids a large library of short stories told through simple dialogue, similar to text messages. Parents must have an Amazon account to sign up for a free 14-day trial and to pay the recurring subscription fee. Once purchased, kids can sign in with their parents' Amazon account information every time they open the app. Kids can read on their own or have a computerized voice read to them. Users can create multiple accounts within the app so each kid has a personalized library. Read Amazon's general privacy policy for details on how your information is collected and shared.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byAllen S. September 15, 2017

My kids hated it

Amazon Rapids is so depressing. It took me an entire day to get it working, then my kids hated it. Hated it! The stories are awful and just drone on and on with... Continue reading

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What's it about?

Parents subscribe to AMAZON RAPIDS through their Amazon account and then use their sign-in credentials to enter the app. Each kid can indicate age group and general interests to create a personalized profile and then choose from among hundreds of stories. All stories unfold through a series of dialogue with some limited graphics; tap or scroll through to advance. Kids can select words they don't know to read definitions and put them in a glossary. The Read to Me function activates a computer-generated voice reading the text. If kids love a story, they can tag it as a favorite to easily find it again.

Is it any good?

It's always a good idea to get kids interested in reading and engaged in storylines, and this unique platform might be great for some and lackluster for others. The user experience with Amazon Rapids is smooth, and many of the themes in the stories are appealing to the mid-elementary school to early middle school set. The glossary is also a nice way to allow kids to explore the definition of new words. However, rather than encouraging sustained attention for deeply creative and inspiring kids' literature, this text message style of telling a story feels superficial. Sometimes the dialogue is even a bit snarky, which may turn some parents, and kids, off. That said, the simple, straightforward delivery might be great for some kids who have trouble with longer stories or more complex text. The bottom line here -- as is so often true -- is know your kid. So while it may not be the highest-quality library available, the quick and accessible narrative style may be appealing, and this could be a positive introduction to reading. The good news is that the free trial gives families a chance to check out whether Amazon Rapids is right for them.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the stories in Amazon Rapids. What do you think about the characters? Do you like them? What do you think could happen next? What kinds of stories do you like best?

  • Talk to kids about different narrative styles. What's different about a story told through short pieces of dialogue versus a full book with dialogue plus description? How is this kind of story different from a play?

  • Provide kids with lots of age-appropriate books. Read to them, read with them, let them read on their own, and let them see you read. The more you do this, the more you'll help create a lifelong reader.

App details

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