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Rivet by Area 120

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Rivet by Area 120 App Poster Image
Free digital library offers a lot, but not all the best.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn a love of reading as they browse and read books. As they read, they can also learn about a variety of topics featured in the books such as historical figures, animals, science, and more.

Ease of Play

Tap and swipe to easily browse the library and read books.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

The app is created by Google.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Rivet by Area 120is a large free digital library offered by a Google offshoot development group. Upon opening the app, parents are asked to sign in with a Google account. Kids can use the library without signing in, but they will see a large "sign in" button on all screens and they won't be able access additional features like creating an avatar, setting a personalized reading level, or marking books as favorites. Books are categorized and searchable by topic and reading level. There's a wide variety of published titles as well as books from popular YouTube creators. Some books have a read-to-me option, but not all. In any book kids can tap on individual words to hear them read out loud. Itdoesn't work on some older devices; check the list to see if your device is compatible.  Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

User Reviews

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What's it about?

Sign in with a Google account to access RIVET BY AREA 120's full features or skip sign in to use without an account. Browse books by eight reading levels and up to 12 categories like history, vehicles, holidays, and community or search by typing or saying key words. With an account, kids can create an avatar, set a reading level, get personalized suggestions, and more. Tap a book to open it, navigate with big arrows or swipe to turn pages. Tap on individual words to hear them out loud.

Is it any good?

This easy-to-navigate and decently sized digital library mixes high quality kids' literature with lower quality books of little substance. Rivet by Area 120 is easy to navigate and books cover a great variety of topics. Eight reading levels seemingly offer books for a big range of reading abilities, though most books seem to be for early readers through late elementary school-aged kids. Particularly for the mid- to advanced reading levels there are a lot more non-fiction titles than fiction. Of most concern is the quality of some of the titles. The books from YouTube creators, for example, may appeal to avid YouTube viewers, but aren't always great reads. The read aloud feature is important, but the computer-generated voice doesn't provide the coziest reading experience. After every few books, kids play a game where they have to pop balloons. The game feels out of place and could be distracting. Also, while some parents won't mind having to sign in with their Google account, =others will not appreciate having to link to Google in order to access the full range of features. As a free resource, it does have something valuable to offer kids, but there are other digital libraries that could be better options. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the books kids choose to read in Rivet by Area 120. What topics interest them?  What reading level are they? Encourage them to try books that are just a tad above their level to challenge them.

  • Read with your kids or ask them to tell you about what they've read. What was the book about? What did they learn?

  • Talk to your kids about the difference between reading on screen and reading a traditional book. What feels different? Do they like doing it one way better than the other? Why?

  • Sure, they're reading -- but on a screen! You may still want to establish some limits. Discuss your family's expectations and guidelines regarding screen use.

App details

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