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What parents need to know
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What's it about?
With LEVAR BURTON KIDS SKYBRARY, children can select up to five ebooks at any time (from a library of more than 300 titles) to keep in their app's backpack. As with most ebooks, kids can read the books themselves or have them read by a narrator. Books are categorized by a series of floating islands, which have a sliding list of titles. Finishing a book earns kids a sticker reward. The app also features mini-films covering a wide range of educational topics, and has a dashboard to help parents track what their kid is reading (and the time spent on each book).
Is it any good?
This app is a nostalgic touchstone for many of today's parents, so there's bound to be some concerns that the app can't live up to the landmark television program. In this case, those fears are unfounded, as LeVar Burton Kids Skybrary keeps the focus strictly on education and the joy of learning. Host LeVar Burton returns as a guide through the app, but lets the books and the users be the star. And the promised future enhancements, such as the "book report" feature that played heavily in the show, are another reason to get excited. Stickers help keep kids motivated, and parents can monitor how often their kids use the app.
There are a few downsides. First, the monthly subscription fee is steep. Given the large collection of books available, it's not unreasonable, but it will be a deterrent to some. Second, we'd like to see more interest areas to choose from when setting up profiles -- some kids will struggle to select three of the presented topics. And finally, we'd like to see the narration highlight words as they're read, but that's a minor quibble.
Talk to your kids about ...
Parents can talk about the different subjects of each episode in LeVar Burton Kids Skybrary -- and use them as launching points for trips to the library or real-world locations.
Ask kids which stories they enjoy most, and find out why. Does the app make them more interested in reading?
Check out Reading Rainbow DVDs at your local library. How is reading a story different from watching it? How often do the images match the pictures you made in your mind while reading?
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire
- Subjects: Language & Reading: reading
- Price: Free to try
- Pricing structure: Free to try (one month free trial, then $4.99/month or $39.99/year)
- Release date: June 19, 2012
- Category: Education
- Size: 174.00 MB
- Publisher: RRKidz, Inc.
- Version: 1.01
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 9.0 or later; Android 3.0 and up
- Last updated: February 27, 2020
Our editors recommend
For kids who love to read and tell stories
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.