Disney Story Central

Common Sense Media says

Favorite characters, badge rewards motivate kids to read.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Ease of play

Kids can choose to read stories themselves, have them read to them, or listen to them on autoplay. 

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

The Disney stories all tie in to other Disney shows, movies, or characters -- all of which are heavily cross-marketed. A logo ad links to other apps from Disney, but it's protected behind a kid-lock screen. Signing up for a parent account gets four tokens to choose four books. You can buy additional tokens, with prices ranging from one for $3.99 to 25 for $24.99. Starter packs are available at a discount.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

To get the four free tokens included with the download, parents must register an email address and enter kids' names and birth dates. The app collects anonymous usage data.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Disney Story Central is a token-based library of stories featuring Disney characters. When parents register for a Disney Story Central account, they receive four tokens with which they can choose four books. After that, parents must purchase tokens that kids can use to choose other books. The book prices are comparable with, and even a bit less expensive than, individual print or digital storybooks -- but they aren't interactive. As kids read books, they earn badges to motivate them to read more. Parents can set up multiple kids on each device, but token packages and books can't be shared among readers.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • reading
  • storytelling

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • thinking critically

Emotional Development

  • empathy

Communication

  • listening

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

The wide range of characters will appeal to lots of kids who are into any Disney characters. Some stories retell familiar plots; others involve the characters in new situations.

Learning Approach

Kids are empowered to choose the stories they want using the tokens parents pre-purchase, and kids are motivated to keep reading to earn badges.

Support

Books are clearly labeled with reading levels -- blue for read-alouds for non-readers and green for level 1, 2, and 3 readers. The level system is explained at the end of the leveled books. Kids can read themselves, have books read to them, or listen on autoplay.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • reading
  • storytelling

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • thinking critically

Emotional Development

  • empathy

Communication

  • listening

Kids can learn reading skills and to read for enjoyment as they discover a variety of books featuring favorite characters. They can listen to the stories read aloud, absorbing language, ideas, and vocabulary. Emerging readers can read along as they listen to the words being read to them, and established readers can read to themselves. Since the app offers leveled readers, parents may want to guide kids in choosing challenging books for their reading levels, but kids of all ages enjoy (and benefit from) a good read-aloud. Disney Story Central's badge system motivates kids to read daily, and the variety of content ensures they'll enjoy it.

This Learning Rating review was written by Amanda Bindel

What's it about?

Parents must help kids set up their accounts in DISNEY STORY CENTRAL by entering birth dates and buying tokens, but then kids are free to choose their own avatars from Disney characters and the books they want to buy. Kids can choose to have books read to them, listen to them on autoplay, or read themselves. When they finish a book, they get a badge reward for reading for consecutive days or for reading different types of stories. Kids can search books by recommendations based on their age and gender or by character.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

There's not much new about Disney Story Central -- Disney has other apps that do the same thing with pretty much the same story selection and token system for kids to choose their own stories. The wide range of characters will appeal to lots of kids, from fans of Sofia the First to Wreck It Ralph to Phineas and Ferb. The badge system rewards kids for reading for consecutive days and about different characters -- which motivates kids to read more (and encourages them to ask parents to buy more books). Books are leveled, as well, with blue-bordered books being targeted as read-alouds for preschoolers and green-bordered books targeted for early readers, levels 1 to 3. The books read more like traditional storybooks than interactive books. Words are highlighted as they're read, but the pages don't have interactive features and words can't be reread. For families that prefer to read digital books and like to buy character-based storybooks, Disney Story Central is a great tool. For everyone else, the four free books are worth exploring.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about their favorite characters from Disney shows and movies and together make up and share their own stories featuring those characters.

  • Read with your kids every day. Digital stories make reading together easy and convenient.

App details

Device:iPad
Price:Free (with in-app purchases)
Pricing structure:Free, Free to Try
Release date:July 10, 2014
Category:Entertainment
Topics:Cars and trucks, Princesses and fairies, Book characters, Fairy tales, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires, Ocean creatures, Pirates
Size:57.00 MB
Publisher:Disney
Version:1.0.0
Minimum software requirements:iOS 7.0 or later

This review of Disney Story Central was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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