What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that News-O-Matic is an interactive, paid subscription-based newspaper for kids ages 7-10. Five news stories -- from world political news to celebrity stories -- are posted on the News-O-Matic app's main page each day. Stories are written by experts, and a child psychologist reviews the articles. There are more than 15 different features on this newsy app, including the stories, puzzles, a word game, and audio. The "Read to Me" feature is beneficial for kids who have auditory processing issues or difficulty with verbal reasoning. The map feature displays the distance from a kid's home to the location of a news story (if the user allows the app to access location), along with a silly distance tracker, like the number of pope hats it takes to get from your home to Vatican City for a story on the Catholic Church.
What kids can learn
Language & Reading
- reading comprehension
- power structures
Thinking & Reasoning
- thinking critically
- perspective taking
Engagement, Approach, Support
Highly engaging. There are more than 15 different ways to interact with News-O-Matic, including five current news stories on a wide range of topics posted each day. Kids can send comments and drawings to the editor.
Content is target-age appropriate and empowers kids to form their own opinions on current issues. It combines a focus on Common Core standards with interactivity, a dash of silly fun, and kid-friendly celeb news, too.
Each article includes an optional extension question or prompt to get kids thinking or exploring the idea, issue, or place presented in the news.
What's it about?
Open the app to view the front page of NEWS-O-MATIC, which includes five top stories of the day with colorful pictures, as well as the games (Puzzle Picture or Mystery Word), news timeline quiz, News Room (interact with the editor), and information features. Tap on a story and the written content appears, with more photos and interactive content. There are many interactive options on each news article's page: Fact, Act, Map, find out about the author, write or draw something, and more. In all, more than 15 options for kids in this newsy app.
Is it any good?
News-O-Matic is an excellent news source for kids at home or in the classroom and well worth the subscription fee -- if your kid will read the five daily stories and delve into the interactive content consistently. For kids who like news, this app is a sure winner. Kids can read about real-world news (or have it read aloud to them by the app's "Read to Me" feature), such as politics and news of the economy, as well as stories with lighter topics like entertainment, celebrities, or sports. You may want to consider trying a few issues before signing up for a longer-term subscription to get a feel for whether the typical range of topics appeals to your kid.
News-O-Matic exposes kids to topics of all kinds, and it tries to include ways to get kids interacting with stories (maps, questions, games, write-the-editor features) far beyond the typical end-of-article multiple-choice quiz on other similar news-for-kids products. With teachers, writers, and a child psychologist on board, News-O-Matic takes news for kids seriously and hope kids will find it fun, too.
Families can talk about...
Talk with kids about why it's worthwhile to be well-rounded in news and not limit reading to one or two subjects.
Consider reading the five articles on the app before your kid does (or with your kid) to prepare for any needed discussion about challenging topics.