Go Read

App review by
Christy Matte, Common Sense Media
Go Read App Poster Image
Customizable, Bookshare-friendly reader for Android.

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

Educational Value

Although the app doesn't highlight individual words as they're read aloud, hesitant and struggling readers can benefit from seeing the text as it's being read. It also provides easier access to text-based learning experiences that kids may not otherwise be able to enjoy due to print disabilities.

Ease of Play

Simple to navigate; connects easily to Bookshare. The app includes an instruction manual, but many settings (voice, text speed, and so on) are controlled on the device and not within the app. 

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Go Read is the Android version of the Read2Go app from Benetech, the people behind Bookshare. It is designed for those with print disabilities, and it can read books, newspapers, and other print materials aloud. The app pairs well with the Bookshare database, allowing access to hundreds of thousands of ebooks and periodicals, as well as other ebook repositories. A Bookshare membership is free for those who qualify. Some relevant settings, such as the voice and the speed of the voice, are controlled by the device itself, while the app allows for other settings such as daytime vs. nighttime contrast. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the types of information collected and shared.

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What's it about?

GO READ allows kids to search Bookshare by title, author, or ISBN or browse by the latest and most popular books. They can also access other libraries of content. Basic features include the ability to search through the books and set bookmarks. There's also a summary page with information about the title. It's is compatible with Google TalkBack and integrates those voice settings into the reading experience. Other settings -- such as font size, page-navigation controls, and pagination -- are available within the app itself. 

Is it any good?

Though there's nothing flashy about this reader, its features go a long way to providing easier access to print materials. The Go Read interface is simple enough to keep the focus on the reading but has settings that can manage a variety of needs. It's easy enough to search Bookshare for a book, although it lacks the option to browse by subject matter. The main screen is clutter-free, with options accessible via drop-down menus, so kids can stick to worrying about reading while parents adjust for the optimal experience. Having to leave the app to change the voice and speed of text (via Google TalkBack) is the biggest drawback to the experience, especially for those who are new to, or unfamiliar with, an Android device. While kids of all abilities can benefit, it's especially helpful for kids who need an adaptive reading source while they're on the go. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about book choices as they use Go Read. How can you choose a good book for your reading level? Are there types of books that you aren't quite ready for? What types of books do you like most?

  • Start a family book club. Choose a book that everyone can read and discuss your thoughts about it. What types of books do you all enjoy?

App details

  • Device: Android
  • Subjects: Language & Reading: letter or word recognition, reading
  • Skills: Self-Direction: academic development
    Communication: listening
  • Price: Free
  • Pricing structure: Free (must have Bookshare account)
  • Release date: October 6, 2016
  • Category: Education
  • Publisher: Bookshare
  • Minimum software requirements: Android 4.0 and up
  • Last updated: June 23, 2019

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