Reading Rewards

App review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
Reading Rewards App Poster Image
Rewards, social features encourage kids to read and connect.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn about setting goals related to reading quantity, as well as time management, reading comprehension, and using social media to convey messages. As kids read and log their reading time, they can see how consistent reading earns rewards on this app. Kids also can practice expressing their thoughts and opinions about what they've read with friends using the social features.

Ease of Play

Very easy to use. Guides users step-by-step in learning the book search-and-logging process, as well as social features.

Violence
Sex
Language
Consumerism

The Reading Rewards "store" section of the app is where kids go to purchase rewards by spending the "miles" they've earned, though there's no real money involved. The app also keeps track of kids' purchases in a special section.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Reading Rewards is a reading tracking and incentive app. Kids log their reading time (either independently or with an in-app timer) to earn incentive points toward rewards, which parents or teachers can determine. Kids also can comment on what they've read and share their posts and book recommendations with friends and classmates who also use the app. Parents and teachers can monitor what kids have read and for how long using Reading Rewards' administrator account. There's also a website that functions like the app. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the information collected and shared.

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What's it about?

To begin using READING REWARDS, kids must first create an account. Parents, teachers, or librarians also can create an administrator's account for a "reading group" to track kids' progress. Kids younger than 13 must enter a parent's email address and get a code. After choosing an avatar, kids can log reading time by tapping "Log My Reading." Tap "+" then enter a book title, searched via Amazon.com. Tap on the correct book to add to your library. Enter your minutes read, or tap on Start Timer to begin reading. Add comments, connect with friends, write a blog post, earn badges, and more.

Is it any good?

This digital reading log may be a handy support tool for kids who are reluctant readers, as well as for kids who love to read, though the emphasis on rewards might not work for everyone. Reading Rewards' incentive program and its social features can act as carrots for kids who don't already love to read. For kids who do love reading, they can use it to log their abundant reading time/books read, to grow in reading comprehension, and to practice expression by sharing their thoughts about what they've read with friends. The one potential drawback for older kids may be the intensive parent/teacher oversight. If parents and/or teachers use the optional administrator account features to monitor ("validate" is the term used by the app) what kids are reading and for how long, it's likely that some kids (especially teens) may be turned off. If parents use the app with a kid's needs in mind, help kids choose awesome books, and wean them off external rewards, this app can be a real win-win.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the importance of reading for both academic success and personal enjoyment. Sure, the rewards in Reading Rewards are fun, but reading itself is the biggest reward!

  • Talk about how to select books that will interest your kid. Reading Rewards suggests books based on what your kid's friends are reading. Choosing the right book is just as important -- maybe more important -- than setting aside time to read. Check out recommended book lists, such as Common Sense Media's 50 Books All Kids Should Read Before They're 12.

  • Talk to your kid about why keeping a reading log/journal can help motivate and keep track of your reading. When you see how many books you've read over time, it gives both a sense of pride and nostalgia for all the wonderful adventures you've had through these books.

App details

For kids who love reading

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