By Ana Beltran,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Comprehensive, free literary resource; watch for cheating.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
LitCharts aims to help kids understand complex themes and ideas in literature. It can help kids improve understanding of a book, but it's important for parents to make sure kids are actually reading assigned books and using the app as a supplementary tool.
Ease of Play
Navigating LitCharts is extremely simple; the information is organized in a clear manner, and the color-coded theme tracker makes it easy to see how authors develops key points.
Violence & Scariness
Some literary titles included in LitCharts describe violent scenes and address themes associated with violence.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some literary titles included in LitCharts describe sexual content and address themes associated with sex.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Explicit or harsh language is present in some literary titles included in LitCharts.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some literary titles included in LitCharts describe scenes and themes that deal with drinking, smoking, and/or drugs.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
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What’s It About?
LITCHARTS is a digital platform that provides access to key information on over 400 titles with the goal of helping kids develop a better understanding of literary texts, supplementing their analysis and supporting them in completing academic assignments. The launch page lists book titles alphabetically, allowing kids to scroll to find the title they want to explore. Navigate the app by scrolling to explore different titles or by typing the book you're looking for in the search box. The Intro tab provides historical context for the book and information about the author along with other key facts and extra credit ideas. The Plot Summary and Characters tabs give readers big-picture information, while the Themes and Symbols tabs provide a deeper analysis of the title. A color-coded theme tracker allows kids to easily identify quotes or chapters that address certain themes and see how themes develop throughout the book. A How to Cite tab shares how to cite each title when using LitCharts as a resource for academic reports or papers, explicitly providing MLA citation, Chicago Manual citation, and APA formats. Kids can contact LitCharts directly through the app; communication categories include requesting a title, providing feedback, and reporting errors.
Is It Any Good?
Kids will find this free study guide to be a visually engaging, easy-to-navigate tool that supports understanding and analysis, but it's important to use it wisely. Understandably, parents and educators may be concerned that LitCharts will be used to replace reading the actual text; however, it's a concern parents can address by showing kids how to use the tool as a support and by reinforcing the value of developing their own ideas and making personal connections to literature. Considering the demands students often face, LitCharts, as a supplementary tool, may help kids understand books and themes with greater depth. Quotes can be sorted by chapter, character, or theme, which supports students writing academic papers and in need of quotes to support their arguments. The app's features, such as the color-coded theme tracker and the side-by-side presentation of summary, analysis, and theme, make for easy navigation and allow kids to see how themes and critical points develop throughout the book. All of the information offered by the app is actually free, and there are no ads, which makes it even more appealing. Overall, LitCharts offers a solid, on-screen experience that can help kids with literature analysis when used appropriately.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how to use LitCharts as a resource to support understanding and analysis of a variety of books. It's meant to supplement the understanding of great literature, so talk about when it's appropriate to use LitCharts and the value of reading the actual book in order to develop personal ideas and opinions.
Talk about plagiarism and the importance of citing resources, including LitCharts, when writing reports or papers.
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
- Subjects: Language & Reading: forming arguments, reading, reading comprehension, text analysis, using supporting evidence, vocabulary
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: analyzing evidence, making conclusions, thinking critically
- Pricing structure: Free
- Release date: March 11, 2016
- Category: Education
- Publisher: LitCharts LLC
- Version: 2.0
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 7.0 or later; Android 4.1 and up
- Last updated: March 11, 2019
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